Killing Lockstep

Squire Sanders & Dempsey: This Killing Lockstep Thing is Fun

Squire Sanders logo.JPGYesterday, we reported that Orrick has decided to end lockstep compensation in 2010. Today, the Orrick effect claims its first soul. Above the Law has learned that Squire Sanders & Dempsey also intends to do away with lockstep compensation in 2010. They just aren’t quite sure what they will replace it with.
But why let the details of the new system stay the execution of the old system? Yesterday, SSD associates received this email from the firm:

As you will recall, when we addressed the issue of associate compensation adjustments earlier this year, we indicated that a re-thinking of our approach, generally, to associate compensation would also be in order and that we would focus more broadly on supportive associate growth and development underlying compensation decisions. We are pleased to report to you that efforts in this direction are well underway.
To provide an overview of this important initiative, we are sharing with you the enclosed memorandum summarizing our efforts to date and projected next steps. In doing so, we would appreciate your respecting the confidential nature of this internal memorandum. As emphasized in the memorandum, this initiative will be, and needs to be, a collaborative effort. We welcome your comments and suggestions, and your participation as we move forward.

Above the Law has also obtained the “enclosed memorandum.” It’s heavy on the ills of lockstep, light on the benefits of the new compensation regime.
More details after the jump.


Squire Sanders started this process by taking a hard look at the “man in the mirror.”
Squire Sanders lockstep end 2.jpg
In Latin America, Asia, and Europe, you don’t need to go through three expensive years of post-graduate education — but reforming the American system of legal education is a job for somebody else. To hear Squire Sanders tell it, lockstep is an outdated concept that has hamstrung clients for too long:
Squire Sanders lockstep end 1.jpg
Okay. Out with the old, in with the new. What is Squire Sanders going to implement to replace lockstep?
Squire Sanders lockstep end 3.jpg
Clearly, the Squire Sanders new program is still in the development stage. But that doesn’t mean that SSD doesn’t have a few ideas about what it would like the new system to look like:
Squire Sanders lockstep end 4.jpg
If I’m reading this right, the key points are these:
* Compensation = TBD
* Criteria for compensation = TBD
* Promotion prospects = Are you kidding? Fine. How about we go with “TBD.”
* Clients = Valued! Very, very valued!
Over 1,700 of you voted in our poll about Orrick’s new compensation system. 68.6% of you didn’t like the plan.
But the end of lockstep will probably be coming to more than a few firms in 2010, like it or not.
Squire Sanders memorandum [PDF]
Earlier: Orrick Ends Lockstep

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