Associate Salaries

Fulbright & Jaworski: The Latest Firm to Abandon Lockstep

Fulbright logo.JPGToday is the start of performance review season for associates at Fulbright & Jaworski. As you well know, performance reviews are now very important. We’ve noticed that firms which are miraculously unaffected by the economic recession coincidentally have the toughest performance reviews.
We don’t know if this round of performance reviews will lead to another round of layoffs at Fulbright. But according to an internal Fulbright email obtained by Above the Law, there is a lot on the line even for associates that will keep their jobs at Fulbright. This year’s reviews come with a cash prize — or penalty.
Read the email after the jump.

Fulbright put its associates on notice that this review season would be “candid.”

[O]ur annual evaluation of non-partner attorneys will begin on September 8. As you know, Fulbright is moving from a lockstep advancement program for associates to a competency-based advancement program and our written evaluations are an essential part of this program. This year, we will be using a new evaluation process and its success is dependent on partner participation, including providing honest, careful and candid evaluations to inform our associates on how to progress in the Firm and become better lawyers.

What in the world is a “competency-based advancement program”? We asked the firm, but Fulbright spokespeople did not clarify which factors would go into associate compensation. We asked Fulbright tipsters about the firm’s new system, and received a number of quizzical responses:

“Beats me, aren’t you the expert?”

“A system sufficiently vague enough to justify no annual raises?”

“I … no longer work at Fulbright & Jaworski.”

Without knowing what — if anything — associates can do to improve their chances under Fulbright’s new compensation structure, do people have any great “acing the performance review” tips for our Fulbright friends? They’ll be reading the comments.
Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Fulbright & Jaworski
Morgan Lewis’s New Compensation Structure = Less Base Compensation?

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