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Reed Smith has broken the lockstep remuneration system for its associates, replacing it with a merit-based structure.
From next year, associates at the firm will be assessed on a range of core competencies. Remuneration will then be aligned to the new model, which will see associates categorised as either junior, mid-level or senior.
UK associates will have their first assessment in early summer 2010 while US associates will be assessed in early autumn.
Reed Smith’s global chief people officer Nicky Dingemans said the new talent model, called CareeRS, was designed to provide a roadmap for associates to understand what was required from them as they progressed in their career and, potentially, towards partnership.
Dingemans added that while the new structure was likely to mean that some associates would not automatically receive year on year pay rises, it would be possible for high performers to make partner earlier than under the old system.
“We’ve not been specific about the timeframe, but this has been well received,” added Dingemans. “We’ll also be looking at alternative paths over the coming months for associates who, for whatever reason, don’t want to be a partner. The system we’ve launched this week is the main road, now we’ll need to build a few side roads.”
The associate competency model covers four core areas: legal skills, citizenship, business skills, and clients, with a focus on nine core competencies.
A second phase of the new model covering support staff will be rolled out next year.