Edge Ellison in plans to demote equity partners

EDGE Ellison partners may be stripped of their equity status if they fail

to measure up to the “perfect partner” model drawn up by management.

As reported exclusively in The Lawyer in June (7 June), the firm is

replacing lock step remuneration with a merit-based system, which uses the

“perfect partner” model to gauge performance.

The model lists skills which partners need to demonstrate including

management/leadership, financial awareness, technical ability, business

development, and commitment. It will dictate levels of pay via a

complicated system of calculations.

Edge Ellison's senior partner James Retallack says that the plan has not

been finalised and approved but comments: “It will give existing partners

the opportunity to see if they are up to speed. If they are not, we will

give them help and if that doesn't work, they might be better off not as

equity partners. For example, they could become consultants or salaried


“It's a big deal to share profit with someone; it's very valuable and we

shouldn't allow entrance into that exclusive club unless they are up to it,

otherwise you get problems later on.”

The proposal comes as Edge Ellison announces plans to pay equity partners

in its London office a flat-rate fee of u15,000 for London weighting.

He says: “We think it's fair. It costs much more to live in London. For

example, you'd pay at least twice as much for a house in London as you

would for the same kind of house in Birmingham.”

Thirty Edge Ellison lawyers have been called in by the Law Society to take

over clients of a rival Birmingham law firm closed down by the Office for

the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS).

Officers moved into the five offices of Southhall & Co last week. It is

believed the OSS is investigating the misuse of hundreds of thousands of

pounds of client money.

Firm founder, Peter Southall and senior partner Ernest Crook have had

their practising certificates suspended. No action has been taken against

the firm's other three partners.