SJ Berwin puts off partner pay vote as assessment scheme approved

SJ Berwin has delayed approving an amended remuneration mechanism that would have built individuals’ success at cross-selling into the partner pay system.

Rob Day
Rob Day

The firm has instead opted in the short term for a new assessment scheme under which partners will be grilled on their efforts at referring work across the firm, with the new arrangement trialled in this summer’s annual partner assessment round.

However, the firm has held off putting the structural remuneration changes to a partnership vote pending further discussions after originally planning to achieve a green light for the new system in a poll last month (2 July 2012).

The compensation revamp would have changed the way management calculates partners’ remuneration points and how these are converted to profit shares, with the process taking into account how much work partners pass on to other parts of the firm.

The firm’s management is still hoping to secure approval for the remuneration changes in time for next summer’s partner assessments, but the delay and further discussions mean alterations to the plans are likely. The amendments require a partner vote as the partnership deed would be changed.

However, the basic assessment changes do not need a formal vote, although the firm consulted partners on them over the summer, with the adjustments coming alongside the approval of a new business plan focusing on so-called ‘key clients’.

Managing partner Rob Day told The Lawyer: “The essence of this is we’re looking to encourage partners working together and generating work in co-operation with each other and introducing work to each other. We want partners in a team to share work and share relationships. At the same time, we want partners to think about what we can sensibly offer these clients as regards the firm as a whole.”