Linklaters moots lower lockstep rungs

Linklaters partners are considering a plan to lower the bottom rung of the firm’s equity ladder.

The proposal, which is part of the magic circle firm’s consultation on its partnership structure, would allow senior associates and salaried partners who launch new practices to enter the equity on the same level of experience as their counterparts in more established sectors.

Linklaters lawyers generally enter the equity with eight years’ PQE. Lowering the bottom rung of the 10 to 25-point ladder would mean these partners would take longer than the usual 10 years to reach plateau.

How far the rung would be lowered would depend on how long the firm felt it would take for a new practice to become profitable.

A partner at the firm said: “Under the proposals new practices will be assessed to see what points a partner should start on, and after that the partner will move up the lockstep in the same way, with each year having fixed points. In essence, the proposal is to link lockstep to profitability.”

The proposal comes as Linklaters looks to bring its German equity ladder into line with London’s by early 2009. Currently the German lockstep is 20-30 per cent lower than the core lockstep.