Watson Burton risks rebellion with elite equity level

WATSON Burton is overhauling its equity partnership less than a year after it restructured its remuneration system.

The Newcastle­headquartered firm is implementing an enhanced remuneration level that just seven partners – including senior partner Rob Langley and managing partner Gillian Hall – will be members of.

The move comes after The Lawyer reported that the firm had opened up its tight equity last year in an attempt to retain and reward younger salaried partners and associates (The Lawyer, 8 September 2008).

It is understood that the planned restructuring has caused a number of Watson Burton partners to consider their future at the firm.

A source close to the firm said: “It wants to restructure its management and this new tier one equity structure is born out of that. There are quite a few people who are very unhappy about this.”

Langley refused to comment on the new equity structure.

The latest developments come as two partners – Karen Eckstein and Lyn Ayrton – prepare to leave Watson Burton to launch a niche family, indemnity and tax firm in September this year.