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Simmons & Simmons will extend its competency framework from its lawyers to all its support staff on a worldwide basis.
The firm is currently rolling out a framework for its lawyers to be assessed against (The Lawyer, 2 October 2006), but it is now also introducing frameworks for its business support staff and secretaries.
HR director Anita Tovell said: "Our staff need the same level of guidance as our lawyers."
The business support staff will be assessed against the same main criteria as lawyers - namely, clients, people, expertise and commercial acumen. Those who fulfil the criteria will be in line for promotions and pay rises.
While age discrimination legislation was partly a driver for the framework (which avoids a reference to PQE), this was not a concern for the new frameworks, Tovell said.
In 2005 Simmons created partnership criteria that are now written into its partnership deed. It cost the firm less than £100,000, plus time commitments.