Pinsents ditches billing targets in bonus shake-up

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By Aishah Hussain on

International firm will now set financial rewards against criteria including colleague trust and environmental impact

Pinsent Masons has ditched hourly billing targets as part of a refresh to its bonus scheme, it has announced.

The international firm will now reward performance against four internal metrics used for “measuring success”. These are “trust among colleagues, trust among clients, impact on the environment and its community, and conduct as a purpose-led organisation”.

Pinsent Masons had used matter related hours targets as means to compensate staff but these have now been “discontinued”. Newly qualified (NQ) solicitors were understood to have 1,500 annual target hours, whilst trainees were given soft targets of 950 matter related hours and 1,000 investment hours per year.

The new scheme applies to both fee-earners and business operations globally, which the firm said will make the criteria for achieving a bonus “the same for everyone, irrespective of department or job role”.

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Richard Foley, senior partner at Pinsent Masons, said: “In 2020 we began measuring our success against metrics that align with our purpose-led strategy and so it naturally follows that our people should be rewarded for helping us to improve against those. This refresh of our bonus scheme helps to build on our culture and is a further example of the work we are doing to re-align our business around our purpose.”

Jonathan Bond, director of Human Resources and learning at Pinsent Masons, added: “Performance can no longer be defined by a volume of hours worked, and so by rewarding hard work and outcomes in a more sophisticated way we’re empowering our people to put their energy into achieving the best outcomes for our clients and communities.”

The changes come just months after the firm said that it had doubled its bonus fund to £13.7 million.

The billable hour is widely used as a core metric across the legal profession. It has come under scrutiny in recent years for a number of broadly acknowledged limitations, namely that it does not directly incentivise efficiency nor account for time spent undertaking non-billable work that may be imperative to a firm’s strategy or client service.

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