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Slaughter and May is paying a discretionary bonus to all staff for the first time since it abandoned its rigid associate lockstep in May.
The firm said that pay-outs will differ according to post-qualification experience (PQE) and, to a lesser extent, performance. The amount awarded is determined by appraisals which took place in May, and also formed the basis of associate salary decisions.
Associates of less than six months PQE who have achieved a “good or exceptional” level of performance will pocket a 6 per cent bonus.
For those with one to two years PQE this rises to 8 per cent, while 2.5 to four year-PQEs could pocket a 10 per cent bonus. Senior associates with 4.5 to 6.5 years’ PQE will take home an extra 12 per cent.
Trainees and support staff will receive a bonus of 3 per cent – up from a 2.5 per cent bonus in 2012. Last year, all associates were paid a flat bonus of 5 per cent (31 October 2012).
Slaughters’ executive partner Richard Clark said: “Our philosophy as a firm is different to the extent that we do not impose billing or time recording targets on our associates and our approach to bonus differentiation is to recognise performance and career progression while ensuring that we reflect our team culture of valuing everyone’s contribution.”
In January this year, Slaughters scrapped its associate lockstep and revamped its appraisal system, offering a higher salary to associates with at least four and a half years’ PQE who demonstrate outstanding performance (17 January 2013).
As part of the transformation, associates are now awarded points based on four criteria: legal knowledge and skills; business and communications skills; practice management skills and people skills; and personal development.
Associates graded ‘good’ or ‘exceptional’, coded internally as ‘G’ or ‘E’, are paid accordingly.