Lovells offers senior associate role and ditches PQE

Lovells has become the latest firm to overhaul its associate career path by launching a new senior associate role across its entire global network.

The new structure, which was unveiled to associates during a series of presentations in late January, is designed to introduce consistency of approach across offices in different jurisdictions.

It will also help Lovells move away from the traditional PQE framework, which some HR professionals believe is contrary to the new Age Discrimination Act.

Under the new system trainees will progress to associate and then senior associate level. Senior associates then have the option to work towards partnership or become of counsel or consultants.

Those associates who choose the counsel route will not be precluded from becoming partners at a later stage in their careers.

Associates will be appraised using a new competency framework, which includes legal and interpersonal skills, business development and matter management criteria.

Lovells London managing partner Ruth Grant told The Lawyer that the new structure has been welcomed by associates. “Generally the reaction has been positive,” she said. “People were keen to have a fair system which adopts objective measurements.”

The first appointments will be made on 1 May 2007.

In a related move, Lovells plans to hold its first-ever senior associate conference in the autumn.