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Linklaters ushers in lockstep shake-up to attract and promote top talent

The latest strategic move in the war for junior talent, Linklaters has introduced a significant overhaul of its lockstep pay model in order to attract and fast-track high performers.

The firm’s partners last week backed a wave of measures that bring Linklaters’ remuneration policy in line with the majority of the Magic Circle. The three key changes are: an extension at the top of its lockstep for partners who make ‘an exceptional contribution’, the ability to accelerate partners up the ladder who also make outstanding contributions, and more flexibility to elect ‘top talent’ to the partnership earlier.

The changes are a statement of intent from Linklaters’ new-look leadership team. This year, the firm appointed global finance head Paul Lewis as managing partner, with M&A heavyweight Aedamar Comiskey (pictured) elected as senior partner.

In a statement, Comiskey said: ‘Paul and I are delighted that our partners have approved these amendments. They will further our bold ambition to be the best global law firm, delivering outstanding results for world-class clients. Notwithstanding these changes, lockstep will continue to underpin our strong culture of collaboration, collegiality and teamwork.’

Lewis added: ‘This vote underscores Linklaters’ commitment to attracting and retaining the best talent in the world and gives us additional flexibility to drive forward our ambitious strategic growth plans.’

These changes will go a long way to accelerate the long-predicted death knell of the more rigid lockstep system historically adopted by the UK’s elite firms. With these changes, Slaughter and May remains the only Magic Circle firm to stick to a pure lockstep structure, after Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance all made changes in recent years.