Clifford Chance finally makes use of £2m superpoints

Clifford Chance has finally made use of its ‘superpoints’, nearly two-and-a-half years after voting to introduce the remuneration structure.

The magic circle firm kicked off a review of its lockstep structure in January 2015 which resulted in the passed vote in May of that year.

It is now understood that five or six partners find themselves in the ‘superpoints’ bracket earning up to £2m apiece. A minimum of three of those partners are thought to be London-based totaling five or six globally.

New York is thought to be home to the rest of that group.

The firm has been expected to take advantage of the structure for a long time now, although sources told The Lawyer that just having superpoints on offer was enough incentive for the firm’s most ambitious partners.

The changes to the lockstep system moved partners from 100 points up to either 115 or 130 in 2015, becoming the first UK firm to introduce the system. Matthew Layton was understood to have introduced the proposals shortly after his election in November 2013.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the first magic circle firm to break its lockstep in 2015 when the firm brought in Ward McKimm from Kirkland & Ellis. Allen & Overy broke its lockstep structure in the USA with several major hires in New York.

A week-long consultation in May between partners at the firm eventually resulted in the lockstep lengthening to 150 points.

It is now thought that the lockstep could now run to as high as 190 for the highest performers.

Clifford Chance’s global lockstep structure has been the focus of much controversy this year. Five partners in its Perth office had their points reduced from 49 to 29 in April.

Its partners in continental Europe are thought to have had their points capped at 70 which could have explained the firm’s Germany head of private equity Christopher Kellett retiring only to resurface at Linklaters later in the year.

Clifford Chance declined to comment.