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Olswang launches 10% staff bonus to encourage entrepreneurs

After what has been a challenging couple of years for TMT firm Olswang, chief executive Paul Stevens is launching a series of initiatives in a bid to ‘re-ignite the firm’s entrepreneurial spirit’.

The first change is a bonus scheme, called the Revenue Share Scheme, for all the firm’s staff members excluding partners. Under the programme, employees which introduce a new client that instructs the firm on more than £20,000 in total fees in the first 12 months will receive a 10% revenue share payment of the instruction fees. Staff members that generate new mandates from existing clients over the same value will receive 5% of the instruction fees.

The ‘client-centric initiative’ is aimed to encourage associates, and also non-legal business heads, to generate more business and create an entrepreneurial workplace environment. The scheme is expected to deepen the firm’s relationships in the wider TMT sectors and real estate market.

‘While the scheme is more likely to affect associates, it is for all staff. For example, we have some very entrepreneurial business service heads who have turned some of our suppliers into our clients,’ said Stevens. ‘The scheme will allow us to proportionality reward staff – from fee earners to business services – for the introduction of new, valuable relationships to the firm.’

The initiative is also expected to bridge the gap between the millennials and its preceding generation. ‘The incoming talent these days need clear links between contribution and recognition,’ added Stevens. ‘With Generation X, it was all about contribution but this next generation want to know what’s expected of them and what they will receive in return.’

The chief executive also plans to bring back a more vigorous lateral hiring system – something that the firm heavily used around a decade ago when it was in growth mode. Overseen by corporate partner Stephen Hermer, the new process will require practice heads to provide in-depth business cases when requesting lateral hires along, and a deeper case analysis.  

‘In the last three to four years there have been some missed opportunities,’ said Stevens. ‘The hiring process will now be more structured, where the incoming lateral is seen by the right people and the whole process is properly more rigorously managed.’

The new system will be used in the firm’s corporate practices in Munich and London first, followed by Singapore. The firm’s German practices were severely hit in summer after US firm Greenberg Traurig launched its first German office with the mass hire of Olswang’s 50-strong lawyer team in Berlin.

After claims that Olswang was re-directing its efforts to its Munich office, the firm was served a further blow after a team of five including intellectual property partner and head of the filing and prosecution team, Herbert Kunz, exited in August.