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INSIGHT: Grumpy Partners and the Case for ‘Multi-Pool’ Comp Systems


Perceptions of cronyism in partner pay structures is real. Consultant Hugh A. Simons looks at findings from a Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Partner Compensation Survey and suggests leaders use profit pools to circumscribe explicitly the funds over which they exercise discretion, and to articulate how the rewards are drawn. One benefit is that it enables a successful junior partner to earn more than senior partners.

Nearly 60% of equity partners want to see changes in their law firm’s comp system, according to the 2018 Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) Partner Compensation Survey. This isn’t normal. I’ve seen comparable numbers for physicians and consultants—for these, typically about 30% want their systems changed.

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