One of the partners who led the campaign to introduce fair pay for part-time partners has quit Lovells as the firm moves to overhaul its remuneration system.
Private equity partner Julie Bradshaw quit Lovells last week to join the London office of New York firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom as of counsel. She will be working four days a week.
The Lawyer understands that Bradshaw's shock departure comes just as Lovells partners vote on whether to abolish the way in which part-time partners are remunerated.
Under the current regime, partners who opt to work four days a week have their pay reduced to 80 per cent - but then by an additional 25 per cent. As well as the reduction, part-time partners also take longer to progress to the top of the lockstep system, gaining just one and half points per year compared with the three points gained by their full-time counterparts.
It is understood that Lovells partners are voting on either abolishing or reducing significantly the additional 25 per cent discount and doing away with the different timetable for moving up the lockstep.
Lovells instructed Nicholas Underhill QC of Fountain Court Chambers - who is also lead counsel for Merrill Lynch on its high profile dispute with Stephanie Villalba - to advise on the new structure.
According to a silk who specialises in employment law, if an employer treats part-time staff less favourably than full-time workers, then that may amount to discrimination unless the treatment is justified.
Lovells confirmed Bradshaw's resignation but declined to comment further.