Freshfields makes finishing touches to associate pay deal

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has unveiled a new merit-based remuneration system for its associates after completing an overhaul of its pay structure for junior lawyers.

From May 2012, the firm will pay its London associates according to a new ‘career milestone’ structure  instead of linking salary to post-qualification yearly progression.

The firm first mooted the pay model in 2009, claiming it gave it more flexibility than the traditional associate lockstep (12 November 2009).

The magic circle firm has heralded the new pay structure as a way of promoting a high performance culture and incentivising individual development, and says it has taken into account associate feedback and current market data in setting the new salary framework.

In a statement, Freshfields London people partner Nigel Rawding said: “To deliver consistently excellent client service we need to continue to attract, retain and engage the very best people. To do that, we believe we need to invest in a salary structure that incentivises and rewards individual development – linked to ‘career milestones’ – and not just years of service.

“Engagement with our people is about much more than remuneration, but the changes we’re introducing are an important piece of the jigsaw.”

From 2012-13, salaries are also set to make up a larger proportion of total compensation for associates, with the firm stating it will “make progression through the milestones more meaningful and reflective of our associates’ individual development”.

According to the firm, salary ranges have already been developed for each milestone, and it has conducted an initial mapping exercise to align individual lawyers to points within these ranges.

Freshfields said there has been an increase in all salary bands compared to relative post-qualification experience mapping, adding that under the new structure no associate will be paid less than they currently are.