Linklaters vows to stick with lockstep after dismissing all-equity model

Linklaters has nixed discussions to move to an all-equity or eat-what-you-kill style partnership, telling members at its partnership conference last week that it was sticking to the lockstep.

Simon Davies
Simon Davies

Linklaters had put its lockstep model up for review and was entertaining the idea of moving to an all-equity model, but following discussions has decided to remain with a lockstep save for a few minor alterations, like widening its pool of salaried partners.  

“[The lockstep] culture is pretty much established,” said one partner. “We’ve taken all things into consideration, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to preserve what we have built up over the years.”

Linklaters’ partnership conference was held over the weekend of 21 and 22 April, in Switzerland.

“A review was being conducted of the lockstep with the view to either validating it or working out if it needed a change,” said another partner. “Following the partner conference it looks like, broadly speaking, it’s going to stay the same.

“There may be a few special things changed around the edges, like taking into account tax structures in China, for instance. Also there’s a keenness to have the flexibility to make extra salaried partners. At one stage it looked like [the firm] might even go to an all-equity model but now we’ve moved back to accepting that in some geographies and practice areas, more salaried partners is the way to go.”

The partner added: “Linklaters is built on the basis of a lockstep culture and there’s a reason for that.”

It is understood that managing partner Simon Davis and senior partner Robert Elliott made note of the firm’s partnership restructuring, news of which first broke in December 2011 (8 December 2011), at the conference.

DLA Piper’s partnership voted in favour of moving to an all-equity model across the non-US side of the firm’s business earlier this year (14 March 2012).

A spokesperson for Linklaters declined to comment.