HSF tweaks pay to keep top Australian partners

January 10, 2014 Herbert Smith Freehills has introduced a provision in its compensation system that aims to hold on to the top performers in the firm’s Australian offices.

The new managed lockstep system, which was approved by more than 75 per cent of the partnership, includes an extra performance-based component for Australian partners above a certain (but unspecified) seniority level. Performance will be scored on a variety of indicators, including financial performance and business development, engagement with staff and client service.

The firm’s management hopes that the extra compensation will help it to retain its best talent after a number of high profile departures. Competition partner Peter McDonald left HSF for Allen & Overy in early December, four employment partners left for US-based firm Seyfarth Shaw in June, and insurance heavyweights Michael Mills and Michelle Fox left behind roles as co-heads of HSF’s product liability practice in Sydney to join Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in May.

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