Norton Rose has responded to its associates’ concerns about working hours by slashing the number of chargeable hours needed to be paid a bonus.

The firm has introduced a new bonus scheme, applicable across all of its offices, which kicks in when 1,500 billable hours have been recorded.

Up to 100 of those can be devoted to ‘knowledge management’, which is Norton Rose’s term for activities that increase the firm’s knowledge about an issue or a client, but which are not charged out.

The scheme is a radical departure from the firm’s previous bonus programme, where bonuses were paid after a total of 1,800 chargeable hours, including 100 knowledge management hours.

London managing partner Deirdre Walker told The Lawyer: “We want to reward those who are working hard.”

Assistants working between 1,500 and 1,599 hours a year will earn a bonus of 2.5 per cent of their salaries. The bonus then rises in increments of 50 hours to 1,799 hours, where it hits 9 per cent.

Lawyers charging between 1,800 and 2,499 hours will be paid a bonus of between 10 and 20 per cent of their salaries, while those billing more than 2,500 hours could get a bonus of up to 30 per cent.