It is that time again in the economic cycle when things look a great deal more turbulent and the legal market starts to feel the pinch, leading firms to scrutinise their business practices with a view to tightening up processes – with ‘streamlining’ and ‘profitability’ the buzzwords of the day.

A firm’s partner structure and the need to boost profit per equity partner raises the sticky issue of de-equitisation. The impact this can have on a firm’s partner group cannot be underestimated, with the results of bad management seen in empty desks and damaged reputations.

Equally important is the need to effectively motivate partners to find and keep the best talent possible. An effective remuneration structure is the filling in any firm’s pie and the gritty business of who gets what and why plays a huge role in a firm’s ability to successfully deliver its business strategy. In this testing period, careful management is essential. Simply put, tightening the belt shouldn’t mean tightening the noose.