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Six external trends and issues affecting partner profit sharing

Nick Jarrett-Kerr, Visiting Professor, Nottingham Law School

25 April 2013

It always used to be the case that partner profit-sharing discussions were a matter of entirely internal focus. In recent years, however, partner remuneration has become less idiosyncratic, moving towards meritocratic performance-related systems and away from the many different and individualised lockstep arrangements. In this movement, I have noticed six externally-driven issues with which firms need to contend.

1. Measures and metrics

As law firms have moved away from assessing partners just on their revenue performance, they have joined every business sector in finding the evaluation of an overall contribution to be extremely difficult, particularly in areas of soft management skills.

There are some who argue that financial results will reflect business development as well as team-building successes and that, accordingly, revenue evaluation should remain the predominant criteria. Other firms are carefully building balan...

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