Kelley Drye & Warren will move away from paying associates based on their class year, the firm said Thursday. In an e-mail, James Kirk, managing partner of the New York-based firm, said the partnership has informed associates the firm will “move away from class year-based compensation over the next year or two, similar to many firms, and will as a first step hold associate compensation at current levels for 2010.”

“We believe that these steps are in the best interest of the firm and will better align our associate resources with the interests of our clients,” Kirk said. The firm had not yet decided on salaries for its incoming associates, who were deferred until January, he added. Kirk said the firm, which has more than 300 lawyers, will probably not make a decision “until early next year.”

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