Linklaters looks to break lockstep in US push

British eyes have focused on the US for many years but it looks like recently, that focus has sharpened.

Magic circle firms in particular appear to be shifting away from lockstep as the need for a revamped US strategy, and a corresponding greater flexibility in remuneration, moves higher up the agenda.

See Linklaters, which has just been giving strong hints towards breaking lockstep in a firm-wide vote aimed at increasing the odds of success in the US.

This comes just months after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s lockstep-busting swathe of US hires in September. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Clifford Chance voted for a three-tier lockstep as early as 2005.

Meanwhile, the Bingham McCutchen deal has reached a head, with 226 partners making the move to Morgan Lewis & Bockius alongside 556 staff and associates.

It looks like the new partners may be cosier than anticipated, as Morgan Lewis has yet to confirm taking on any further office space aside from Bingham’s spaces in California, Santa Monica and Hartford.

The 80 other Bingham partners that were left out in the cold after Morgan Lewis’ mass lateral hire have started to make their own moves. Four litigation partners have transferred over to Seyfarth Shaw’s Boston office this week, with the rest set to follow their lead as Bingham winds down its operations to close.

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