It’s the most wonderful time of the year

More financial results, which means for some lucky employees it is bonus time. So far the firms that pay flat bonuses on their profit performances are still few and far between. Allen & Overy (A&O) has been doing this for a couple of years to its employees’ great satisfaction. This year its profit rose by 20 per cent to £787,000, which meant a bonus pool representing more than 15 per cent of salary to everyone on the payroll.

CMS Cameron McKenna has unveiled a similar approach. It is paying a bonus of 6.05 per cent of salary to all its staff and pays a sum equivalent to a fixed percentage of salary for every £1m by which the firm beats its profit target. “Try explaining to your clients why a system that rewards chargeable hours is in their interests,” managing partner Dick Tyler told The Lawyer (19 June).

Meanwhile, Simmons & Simmons’ latest wheeze is to rethink its remuneration system to encourage cross-border teamwork and cross-selling across jurisdictions.

Managing partner Mark Dawkins told The Lawyer (3 July): “I want to look at whether the firm’s remuneration structure is fully aligned with what the firm wants to do. This includes whether we’re adequately rewarding cross-border teamwork.”

Dawkins might want to take a look at what DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has done. As part of its integration plan, it has set up three cash pools. One of them is known as ‘global behaviour’, which is set aside for merit-based bonuses and which rewards major cross-jursidictional referrals.