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Pinsents ditches billing targets in bonus shake-up

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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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10 Comments

Non-shocka

“These are “trust among colleagues, trust among clients, impact on the environment and its community, and conduct as a purpose-led organisation”.

Pure nightmare sauce. Obscure, generic bonus goalposts and no actual recognition for hours pumped out during the year. What could possibly go wrong?

LOL

Clearly you’ve never billed any time before. You would be acutely aware that billed time does not equal performance, considering that a lot of colleagues simply cannot keep up with work because they are too slow and hence bill more hours. Hence, billable hours are not at all indicative of performance, considering that slow people would simply bill more.

Look at this fool and laugh

LMAO hi Pinsents partner.

Anonymous

Not the gift to PM’s fee earners that it might first appear to be. Time recording requirements remain in place with those missing a day or two shamed in division-wide emails.

The bonus criteria has always been opaque – now even more so, as earning the firm a ton of money doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a share of the spoils.

anon

Definitely just a way to justify lower bonuses…

Anonymous

Weak sauce. Slipped.

Nonsense

I’m sure that, subsumed by the opaque metric of “trust among clients” will be an insane amount of working hours. Also, I’m uncertain what effect an individual solicitor can have on the enormous environmental impact of their firm’s overall activities? Just virtue-signalling garbage.

Get Real

Imagine them actually showing this as a benefit when inviting someone to interview a potential lateral hire?

“Look at our wonderfully-opaque bonus scheme that is based on subjective hurdles controlled by the partnership!”

“Yah, I’ll take no bonus scheme and a 20% salary uplift.”

“We can’t afford that!”

Keep in mind this was a firm that very publicly moaned about the US-lead salary war and at the same time was recording the highest ever turnover. Delusional.

Infomercial

Agreed. What a third-tier firm, utter toilet.

Realist

Bureaucratese:

“Pinsent Masons has updated its bonus scheme, abandoning its hours-based bonus targets. Lawyers will now be measured against the firm’s ‘four key metrics for success’: trust among colleagues, trust among clients, impact on the environment and its community and conduct as a purpose-led organisation… 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.”

Plain English version:

“Pinsent Masons has stared, aghast, at the associate salary inflation sparked by US firms with minimal overheads and whose business models are entirely different. It has abandoned any hope of competing with both them and also other English firms. Pinsents’ associates will now be measured against unfalsifiable metrics inherently incapable of objective assessment, in so doing rewarding hard work and outcomes with mere sophistry.”

Good luck. It’s arguably a reasonable approach: if you don’t like the game, don’t hate the players, kick over the board, and see if you can change the rules!

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