Shearman & Sterling's associates will no longer enjoy six-monthly pay reviews following an overhaul of the London office's salary system.
Going against Allen & Overy's (A&O) 20 per cent pay hike last month (October), Shearman has instead decided to pare down its salary reviews to a single annual review in May from next year.
The firm previously held six-month reviews in March and September. The March review entailed a revision both of associates' individual bandings and the overall rates for each band, while the September reassessment focused on adjusting individual bandings.
A spokeswoman for the firm said the changes would be implemented from January 2006 in a bid "to bring the firm in line with the magic circle".
However, in a surprise move, A&O raised its rates for London-based associates with two years' post-qualification (PQE) experience from £59,000 to £62,000 on 1 November. This will be followed by a further increase to £71,000 on 1 May 2006.
Shearman declined to disclose its salary bands for associates, but the spokeswoman claimed the firm has "always paid more than the magic circle".
Shearman's associate salaries were last increased by between 10 and 20 per cent in March, while the 86 associates in the London office also had their bandings reassessed in September.