Orrick has put out an announcement of its “new talent model” today, not long after Howrey announced its new training model that cuts younger associates’ salaries but promises better development opportunities. Orrick’s move comes only a day after a survey of in-house departments found the widespread perception that law firms are not interested in change.
We’ve reported on Orrick’s new talent model and its planned departure from lockstep a few times, but now Orrick has announced some details. The press release is below. We’ll chew it over later this afternoon on Cal Law, and in tomorrow’s Recorder.
Press release after the jump.
Orrick Announces New Talent Model
A Revolutionary Change in Approach to Client Service and Lawyer Development
New York – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe introduces today a new Talent Model that promises to reengineer the way the law firm delivers high value legal service. The new model combines a move away from traditional lockstep advancement for partner track associates with the creation of a variety of other novel legal roles.
"We are confident that our new model is the way of the future," said Ralph Baxter, Orrick's Chairman and CEO. "At Orrick, we are working closely with our clients to bring greater innovation and efficiency to the delivery for high value legal work. Bringing the law firm talent model into the 21st century is key to this objective. We believe our new approach to developing the lawyers of tomorrow and reengineering the way we staff complex matters is one of the most comprehensive and exciting changes in the profession today."
The new model establishes three tracks of lawyers and other professionals and staff: Partner Track Associates, Career Attorneys and Legal Team Professionals, and Custom Track Associates.
"Our new Talent Model is designed to allow associates to advance at a rate that reflects their growing skills and value," said Siobhan Handley, Orrick's Managing Partner for Innovation. "It will create a clearer and more understandable path to partnership, provide greater flexibility in the way we staff engagements, and create long-term opportunities for the best associates who may not want to be partners."
Moving Away from Lockstep Advancement: Partner Track Associates
Orrick will replace the automatic lockstep advancement model for its partner track associates with a model that allows associates to advance at a pace that reflects their developing skill set.
The firm will have three levels of associates — Associate, Managing Associate, and Senior Associate – with well-defined performance criteria for advancement from one level to the next and with corresponding compensation levels. To implement this program, the firm is enhancing its associate training, mentoring, and feedback systems.
"The traditional associate lockstep staffing and compensation model is based upon out-dated assumptions," said Laura Saklad, Orrick's Chief Lawyer Development Officer. "Our new Talent Model recognizes that not all associates advance at the same pace, tenure is not a proxy for advancing skill, and clients should not bear the cost of training associates. In the end, our goal is to deploy the right lawyer or professional for the right task at the right cost."
Other Novel Roles: Career Attorneys & Legal Team Professionals and Custom Track Associates
As part of Orrick's continuing focus on reengineering its approach to legal work, the firm is creating Career Attorney and Legal Team Professional roles. These roles will enable the firm to leverage and expand the services and capabilities that the firm already provides its clients from the Global Operations Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. In every area of practice, the firm has sought to identify tasks and processes that can be disaggregated from the delivery of high-value legal advice and executed in an i ntegrated, seamless and efficient manner by specialists and other lower cost resources. These roles include project managers, document reviewers, compliance specialists, due diligence specialists, document assemblers, and legal researchers.
The Custom Track creates roles for lawyers who have outstanding skills yet desire a less traditional path to partnership or do not aspire to partnership at all. Associates on the Custom Track will be able to set a different pace for advancement or customize a long-term role that enables them to contribute in a meaningful way but does not necessarily lead toward partnership with the firm. Associates on the Custom Track may return to the Partner Track.
— Amanda Royal
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