Herbies rejigs work allocation system

Herbert Smith is poised to launch a full-scale review of its system of allocating work to associates in response to the surge in deal activity.

According to well-placed sources, the top 10 City firm is expected to kick-start the review later in the year. Herbert Smith does not currently have a uniform policy for allocating work to trainees.

The finance division produces a weekly report on how busy associates are and the deals they are working on. The report is reviewed by partners every Friday morning against what resource is needed before work is given to associates.

One Herbert Smith source said the review is part of the broader work-life balance project the firm is rolling out.

As first reported by The Lawyer last month (12 June), Herbert Smith became the latest City firm to radically overhaul its career path for associates after creating an ‘of counsel’ role for senior associates with nine years’ PQE as an alternative to partnership.

Of counsels will be eligible for profit and performance-related bonuses of up to 40 per cent of salary and three extra days of leave.

Additionally, the firm also announced that associates with four years’ PQE will be promoted automatically to ‘senior associates’.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s and Linklaters‘ corporate departments overhauled their systems last Nov ember for allocating work to corporate associates. Freshfields piloted a system involving select senior associates in the process of assigning work to their peers.

Linklaters, meanwhile, introduced ‘work allocation partners’, who are responsible for ensuring matters are distributed fairly between associates in terms of volume and types of transactions.

Herbert Smith declined to comment.