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At least one Lovells equity partner has slid from the top to the bottom rung of the firm's lockstep ladder via performance-related sanctions introduced last year.
Partners at the firm okayed plans last January that gave the partnership council the authority to take action against underperforming partners.
So far 10 partners have been affected by the measures, with at least one moving from a 60-point plateau position on the lockstep to the 30-point bottom rung.
The firm's senior partner John Young said the powers were granted as a means of retaining equity partners that were still valued by the firm, but who were not performing at a level appropriate to their position on the lockstep.
Young said the sanctions have been employed in response to two specific situations.
In the first, senior partners who are at or near to the top of equity have been moved down the ladder if their performance levels slipped. In some cases partners have reached plateau by simply moving through the system, even if their performances did not reflect that level of remuneration.
In the second scenario, a number of partners moving up the lockstep have had their positions frozen, typically at around 40 points, because the partnership did not feel their performances justified progression.
Young said that if neither option was appropriate the partner would be asked to leave the firm.