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Herbert Smith has become the latest City firm to radically overhaul its career path for associates in a bid to slash attrition rates.
The firm has created an of counsel role for senior associates with typically nine years' PQE as an alternative to partnership. The first promotions to of counsel will be announced on 1 September 2006.
Herbert Smith chief operating officer Norman Green said: "We were finding the only alternative for associates who don't want to become partners was to leave."
As first reported by The Lawyer (10 October 2005), Herbert Smith suffered an exodus of associates from its disputes department amid accusations that career progression was unclear.
Green said the firm has taken a number of measures to address associate attrition rates and that the number of lawyers leaving the firm has dropped.
Of counsels will be eligible for profit and performance-related bonuses of up to 40 per cent of salary and will be entitled to three extra days of leave.
The firm has also announced that associates with four years' PQE will be promoted automatically to 'senior associates' and will be eligible for a an increased bonus of 30 per cent.
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