The move will see some partners’ notice periods cut in half from 180 days to 90 days, while others will see it extended from around one month to three months.
The decision to harmonise the notice period for NEPs was announced by K&L Gates chairman Peter Kalis at a worldwide video conference late last month.
Kalis said the move made sense from a management and administrative point of view.
“Because of our merger history we’ve had a hodge-podge of contractual arrangements with our NEPs,” said Kalis. “What we’ve done is make what was a crazy quilt uniform.”
Kalis added that in principle the change would apply to K&L Gates worldwide, but that each jurisdiction was subject to local regulations.
London partners are governed by the UK members agreement that complies with Law Society requirements and consequently are not affected by the change.
The move has been interpreted by some as a precursor to a significant reduction in the total number of NEPs at K&L Gates.
Kalis rebuffed this, but accepted that it would allow greater flexibility in the practice.
“Is it, in this economy, useful for law firms to remain nimble?” he asked. “Yes. Do we plan to offload income partners, or NEPs, other than in the ordinary course of business innumbers larger than usual? No.”