Linklaters scraps individual partner targets in effort to boost focus on teamwork

Linklaters

Linklaters is moving away from individual financial targets for partners, in a bid to improve teamwork at the magic circle firm.

The overhaul – which was presented to the firm’s partnership at its recent partnership meeting in Monaco – will see partner performance assessed by considering a broader range of factors encompassing business development, marketing and innovation, rather than a sole focus on individual billings.

The move is aimed at boosting revenues by fostering a more entrepreneurial spirit and encouraging partners to collaborate, rather than focus on their own financial targets.

Additionally, annual partner reviews will be ditched in favour of more regular feedback from sector or geography leaders, with the firm aiming to encourage more regular conversations between sectors and practices.

The shakeup comes after a wide-ranging strategy consultation exercise within the firm, which took place in the run up to its annual partner conference at the end of March.

The review, led by managing partner Gideon Moore, involved widespread soundings among the firm and its clients on the future direction of the firm. The move is particularly significant for Linklaters given its historic focus on individual partner performance and billing targets, much of which was instilled by former managing partner Tony Angel.

Moore commented: “Following an extensive and collaborative process, involving more than 100 clients and 2,000 of our people across the world, one of the key pillars of our Strategy Refresh is that we are keen for our teams and practices to feel motivated and encouraged to present the whole firm’s offering to clients.

“As part of our implementation of that strategy, we are removing the barriers that stop us from acting as a united team: recognising total partner contribution to the firm rather than focusing on individual metrics. It’s a move that will allow us to be agile and flexible, as well as ensuring clients receive the very highest level of service.”

The move follows a decision at Linklaters’ last conference in November to reform its lockstep model, moving from a ladder that typically topped out at 25 points over 10 years to one that reached 50 points over a 12-year period. The new lockstep system takes effect in May.

Moore took over as Linklaters managing partner last year, with corporate heavyweight Charlie Jacobs stepping into the senior partner role.