Slaughter and May has increased the size of its annual bonuses, with associates qualified for more than four and a half years set to receive an additional 15% on top of their salary.
Associates at the firm, which last year introduced a discretionary bonus to all staff after abandoning its rigid associate lockstep, will reap a larger bonus this year, linked to both PQE and performance.
Associates up to six months qualified and achieving a good or exceptional level of performance will receive a 7.5% bonus this year, up on the 6% paid out in 2013, and worth almost £5,000. Associates qualified for between one and two years are set to take home a 10% bonus, a rise on the 8% handed out this time last year.
The biggest rise, amid increased competition for talented senior associates as US law firms look to build out in the City, have gone to those qualified for more than two and a half years. Those qualified for between two and a half and four years will earn an extra 2.5% this year, with bonuses rising to 12.5%, while those qualified for more than four years will see bonuses hiked up by 3% to 15%.
Associates who do not attain a good to exceptional level of performance – with points awarded to individuals based on legal knowledge and skills, business and communications skills, practice management and people skills and personal development – will receive a lower bonus. In 2012, all associates at the firm were paid a flat bonus of 5%.
Bonuses for trainees and support staff have been frozen at 3%. That means a first year trainee at the firm will expect to take home a £1,185 bonus, while second year trainees will take home around £1,350.
Executive partner Richard Clark said: ‘Our bonus levels reflect a busy year for the firm and our staff. We do not impose billing or time recording targets on our associates and our approach to bonus differentiation is to recognise performance and career progression while ensuring that we reflect our team culture of valuing and recognising everyone’s contribution.’