Halliwells plans overhaul of partner review system

North West firm Halliwells is revamping partner remuneration with a review of its modified lockstep structure.

The firm, which operates a modified four-year lockstep, is discussing how to formalise partner reviews once partners reach the top of the lockstep.

Halliwells managing partner Ian Austin said: “We’ve had a merit-based element to the structure for some time, but we need to develop the way in which partners are reviewed and will proceed in the firm.”

Currently partners are reviewed based on client-focused skills and how well they meet set interdepartmental objectives. However, the firm has not previously implemented a formal process to be adhered to.

Austin said: “Most firms operate a modified lockstep system now. It just depends on each firm and specifically how they design it. It’s to appropriately reflect the culture of the firm.”

North West firms operate a number of different remuneration structures, such as Pannone’s five-year pure lockstep and Cobbets’ five-rung modified lockstep. Austin said: “Our system works well and we’re certainly pleased with how partners are progressing. However, we want to look more closely at the structure over the next few years to be sure it’s the best system for us.”

Halliwells had a successful year in 2006-07, reporting a rise in average profit per equity partner (PEP) of 20 per cent, coupled with a turnover increase of 37.5 per cent.

According to Austin, the £612,000 PEP and £86.2m turnover figures can be attributed to healthy growth across all practice areas and all four of the firm’s offices.

Corporate finance contributed most to turnover throughout the year, followed by litigation.