Stephensons’ PQE pay model ditched

Stephenson Harwood has become the latest firm to move away from the system of remunerating associates based purely on PQE.

The firm’s new system will see the retention of current pay brackets for associates, but means they will no longer be guaranteed to move up the scale after completing a certain amount of years. Instead, performance assessments will have a direct impact on the level at which associates are paid.

The Associate Career Development Framework has been in development for a year and will go live at the next assessment round in May.

Jeff Marlow, the firm’s director of HR and training, said: “The appraisals will not fundamentally change, but progression will now be by dint of performance, not PQE.”

He added that most of the changes would be seen “at the top and bottom” ends of associate competency.

Associate pay at the firm starts at £58,000 for newly qualified (NQ) lawyers, ­rising to almost £90,000 for senior associates.

Last year Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced that it was introducing a career milestone system to assess associate development (TheLawyer. com, 12 November 2009). Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Denton Wilde Sapte and Norton Rose are among a clutch of firms that have also abandoned the PQE model.