Payout Per Nonequity Partner (PNEP) is a firm’s total compensation for nonequity partners, a figure collected from our most recent Am Law 200 survey, divided by that firm’s full-time equivalent (FTE) of nonequity partners for 2011. That final number is an average—at many firms there are wide variations in pay to individual nonequity partners. Additionally, the population of nonequity partners can vary widely, with some firms including a significant number of junior partners on the path to equity partnership, laterals with short-term fixed compensation arrangements, and senior partners on their way to retirement. These differences in the composition of the reported nonequity partnership can make true compensation comparisons between firms difficult.
Among the 168 firms in The Am Law 200 that report nonequity partners, the average PNEP is roughly $406,000, but the span of PNEP results is striking, ranging from $1.53 million at the top end to $100,000 at the bottom. We also expressed each firm’s PNEP as a percentage of its PPP to show how average pay levels of nonequity partners at each firm compare to their equity peers. —Amy Kolz