Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

U.S. firms’ debate over whether to keep or abandon lockstep compensation for associates is being closely watched from distant shores. The Australian, Australia’s largest newspaper, reports that major firms there are also looking at introducing performance-based pay systems, “Over time I think you will see movement (in Australia) moving away from lockstep towards greater degrees of performance-based salary-setting,” Robert Milliner, the chief executive partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, told the newspaper. But he said the speed of the change would likely depend on movement in the international legal community. Another Australian firm leader, David Fagan of Clayton Utz, said he had just returned from a conference of U.S. managing partners. He described as “perverse” the American system whereby associate salaries could rise for eight years without reference to performance and said several U.S. firms were on the verge of abandoning it. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Bingham McCutchen are among those that already have. Australian associates generally earn much less than their U.S. counterparts. While first-year associates at large firms in New York still typically earn $160,000 a year in base salary, a starting lawyer at big Sydney firm frequently earns a third of that. Michael Rose, chief executive partner of Allens Arthur Robinson, said the debate about pay was a natural outgrowth of the economic downturn and other structural changes facing legal profession. “All those things will cause all firms to be thinking about what size their firm is, what practice they focus on and how their business systems are set up to meet that new dynamic,” said Rose. The American Lawyer wrote this month that, particularly in light of their nation’s ever-tightening economic relationship with China, major Australian firms are pondering their global role, including possible mergers with U.K. firms.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.