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Does a bonus culture do more harm than good?

By Guy Vincent, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell

10 September 2012

The Olympics are over. Summer, if it ever started, is over. When the Monday morning alarm wakes you to another dank, gloomy day, what is that makes you get out of bed? Is it the challenge of working through intellectual problems? Is it the quality of the work and the clients? Is it the reward on offer for success? Or is it perhaps the hope of a significant cash bonus?

Staggering bonus payments made to bankers have been exciting the press. Most of the commentary has been couched in terms of such outrage that the heat surrounding the issue has obscured any attempt to discuss whether the bonus culture in banks works. As a profession, we also use bonuses as part of reward packages so, with the current interest in this subject, I want to ask whether a bonus culture works for law firms.

The economy looks set to remain flat, at best, for some time, which means that work will be har...

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