Bonelli follows Anglo-Saxon lockstep route

Slaughter and May Italian best friend Bonelli Erede Pappalardo has taken the unusual step of introducing a modified lockstep to replace its traditional partner remuneration system, despite its plans to remain independent

After six months of discussions, the 30-partner firm has just approved a replacement partnership agreement introducing new rules on the distribution of profits. Devised by a committee of 12 partners, the new system breaks away from the traditional personality-driven approach of Italian firms. Bonelli's old system was based substantially on merit and client relationships and was therefore weighted heavily in favour of its best-known partners.
Committee member Alberto Saravalle said the new system was designed to give all partners and, in particular, junior partners a greater stake in the firm.
“The system is aimed at encouraging cooperation and affection for the firm… We looked at Anglo-Saxon practices and that is why we have arrived at a lockstep which is slightly modified.
“For an Italian firm this is a significant move towards Anglo-Saxon practice. Some firms which have done this are already merged with Anglo-Saxon firms. We have done it because we think it is the only way to deal with the problem of ensuring a safe future for the firm. Otherwise the firm will be based on a few outstanding personalities and our junior partners may be worried about that.”