CC announces new three-tier lockstep

Clifford Chance has released its long-awaited lockstep review to all partners this week, with recommendations for three distinct equity ladders.

The lockstep review, part of a long-running debate at the magic circle firm on profit shareout among equity partners, was launched several months ago and is being led by real estate head Cliff McAuley.

As first reported by The Lawyer on 13 June, the 60-page document contains proposals that would see a change from the current one-size-fits-all lockstep, which runs from 40 to 100 points.

That basic structure would be stretched downwards to 10 points, which would enable the firm to bring the entire salaried partnership into the equity.

There is also a proposed lower ladder of 30 to 70 points and a higher ladder of 110 to 150 points.

The review proposes that offices will be given the chance to opt into the lower ladder where economically appropriate, while individuals will have to justify moving on to the top ladder by reference to how they perform against the firm’s four core values of ambition, commitment, quality and community.

The partner appraisal system, which is also carried out by reference to the core values, will run on a three-year cycle. Partners can be moved up and down the lockstep accordingly, the report suggests.

The McAuley paper also proposes the creation of a partner remuneration group, to be chaired by senior partner Stuart Popham.