Gibson Dunn considers salaried tier

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is investigating whether to introduce a salaried-partner tier, ending its reign as one of the US’s last single-partnership firms.

The West Coast firm has created a committee tasked with analysing whether to introduce a non-equity or salaried-partner tier, including whether to move existing partners across to the new tier, or whether it should be used as a tool for lateral hires and associate promotions.

A source at Gibson Dunn explained that the “high-level” committee had just started the process and had not yet debated its considerations with the firm’s 250 equity partners.

However, the source revealed that many within the partnership were pushing for the non-equity tier to be only “a narrow tool used just for lateral hires”.

This is the likely outcome of the review, as the firm is also overhauling its partnership and fee-earner recruitment process in a bid to increase the firm’s global leverage to three lawyers for every partner.

The committee reviewing the non-equity tier is expected to report to the partnership on its findings early next year, although no formal timeline has been set.

Managing partner Kenneth Doran said: “We’re aware that many of our peer firms have had a non-equity structure in place for many years and we’re simply evaluating whether we should consider a change.”