SJ Berwin partners gear up to vote on new remuneration system

Partners at SJ Berwin are set to vote this month on whether to bring in a new remuneration system designed to promote client sharing at the firm.

Partners are being asked to vote on the changes, which, if passed, will be implemented in next year’s remuneration review, because they would require a change to the partnership deed.

If voted for and put into effect, the changes would mean that a partner’s cross-selling activities would be taken into account when management is deciding their remuneration. It is understood that there will be a grace period for partners who bill a lot but do not refer much work to begin with as the changes bed in, but that after one or two years the firm plans to adhere strictly to the new principles.

The news comes shortly after SJ Berwin’s partner conference in Hertfordshire in May, when senior partner Stephen Kon and managing partner Rob Day both spoke on a ’One Firm’ theme (11 June 2012).

SJ Berwin has a reputation for being poorer than its competitors at client sharing and cross-referring among partners. Changes to the firm’s remuneration structure were first reported in February (20 February 2012), when it was also reported that the firm was planning to better remunerate partners with management roles.

In May (22 May 2012) The Lawyer also reported that SJ Berwin had held exploratory talks with US firm Mayer Brown about a merger. According to a source at SJ Berwin these talks are yet to progress and there have been no more talks between management at SJ Berwin and Mayer Brown at this time.