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The death of lockstep in law firms

By Guy Vincent, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell

25 September 2012

Meeting an old friend for a beer recently, our conversation turned to career prospects and how we are rewarded. As I explained the concept of lockstep, my friend, who has spent his career working in industry, became increasingly confused and I felt as if I was trying to explain the laws of cricket to an American. Surely, he asked, I was set objectives and then rewarded and promoted according to how I performed?

My friend would be pleased – as I am – that, across the profession, the approach to equity structures has changed over the past few years. More and more firms have changed (or are changing) from a system based on pure lockstep or modified lockstep to a system with a more significant performance-based element.

When making these changes, there is a balance to be struck between the elements of compensation linked to longer-term performance and future sustainability, and...

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