Norton Rose puts partner performance at centre of lockstep review

Norton Rose has revamped its lockstep to put an increased emphasis on individual partner performance.

The changes will come into effect at the start of the next financial year. Under the new system, performance will be assessed against equity partners’ plans for their practice at the end of each year.

Pay will be decided by a five-partner remuneration committee, which will take into account a range of softer factors, as well as financial performance, when making its decisions. Equity partners can move up or down by a single band every year, but will only have the opportunity to jump bands every three years.

Norton Rose currently operates a modified lockstep that sees partners enter on 100 points. They move up by 12.5 a year until reaching a 150-point gateway. Plateau is 200 points although a small number of high performers can move up to a maximum of 300 points.

Under the new structure the maximum will be increased to 350.

The changes to the lockstep were voted through in the summer, following a review by the firm’s partnership council.

In a statement, Norton Rose’s group chief executive Peter Martyr, said: “Broadly speaking we’ve had a relatively traditional structure for partner remuneration in the past. The partnership has now decided to change it to allow greater flexibility when taking into account the range of a partner’s performance. Many of the old, familiar elements will remain but the partnership will make better use of appraisals. The focus will not be purely on partner financial results.

“We see this as an opportunity to connect the partner’s practices more closely to the strategy of the business. It allows us to take into account differing levels of performance within the partnership and moves us to a more modern basis of remuneration.”