Denton Wilde Sapte is drafting a formal policy that could see London associates who transfer to international offices guaranteed partnership promotions within a year of moving.
One Dentons senior associate told The Lawyer he had been asked to move to the Middle East and in return would be made up to partner at the next promotion round after he had served 12 months in the region.
“I was told that if I stayed in London it would take me more than a couple of years to get to partnership, so going to the Middle East would be a good move,” said the associate.
Dentons made a hugely symbolic move that indicated the vital importance of its Middle East operations when it transferred chairman James Dallas (pictured) to Dubai last September. Dallas’s move followed the launch of offices in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in 2007, and the firm has now made it a strategic priority to boost personnel levels in the Middle East.
A spokesman for the firm confirmed that some associates had been approached with potential offers.
“We’ve been making an internal communications push to encourage fee-earners to consider offices in our Middle East network, as these are currently growing at an incredible rate and have a constant need for good-quality lawyers,” said the spokesman.
The policy will not be limited to the Middle East, but will cover the firm’s entire international operations, which are its main driver of growth since the UK business has stalled.
“We’re currently discussing plans for a more advanced policy which will further incentivise our fee-earners to go on secondments to our overseas offices and to clients as well,” said the spokesman. “This will include salary and career incentives, which are yet to be finalised.”
However, he added that, as the policy is itself yet to be finalised, he could not confirm or deny that guaranteed partnership promotions would be on offer.
Dentons’ present policy is simply to assist staff with the costs associated with moving to other jurisdictions, as well as helping them find somewhere to live.
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