Compensation Innovation: An in-depth exploration into the future of law firm compensation

Thorough and practical advice that will enable firms of all sizes to develop fit-for-purpose compensation systems that can be effectively managed to drive the right behaviors and, in turn, financial success.

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  • Publication date: March, 2018
  • Pages: 100
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-318-8


Commentators have argued for many years that law firms need to move forward from their traditional, seniority-based compensation systems.

But it’s not enough to simply add performance-related elements at the edges of these. Shifting generational-based attitudes; changing career aspirations; increasingly demanding clients; and pricing innovation and development in the range of benefits that can be offered (both financial and non-financial) all conspire to urge firms to rethink how their compensation system operates at all levels, across the whole firm.

By reviewing these emerging factors, Compensation Innovation: An in-depth exploration into the future of law firm compensation aims to inspire law firms towards future proofing their compensation systems so that they continue to deliver results as their partnerships age. Exploring also the interplay between compensation and succession planning, and compensation and lateral hiring, the authors keep one eye to the future. 



About the authors

Chapter 1: Why we need to reward people differently

August J. Aquila, principal, AQUILA Global Advisors LLC

Chapter 2: Compensation in a timeless practice

John Chisholm, consultant, John Chisholm Consulting

Chapter 3: Common metrics, common methods, and common success – how in-house lawyers and firms can work better together by aligning law firm compensation with client success

Paul Lippe, Advisory Board, Elevate Services and former CEO of Legal OnRamp

Chapter 4: Staying in the race – why top firms pay so much for associates (even though they lose money on it)

Dan O’Day, vice president, sales and client services, American LegalNet

Chapter 5: Lateral hire compensation – managing risk vs reward

Rebecca Holdredge, chief operating officer, Decipher

Chapter 6: Associate compensation structures that appropriately reward associates and promote the goals of the firm

Arthur G. Greene, principal, Boyer Greene, LLC

Chapter 7: Reward today or invest in tomorrow? Aligning partner behaviors with the long-term health of the firm

Timothy Corcoran, principal, Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC

Chapter 8: Evolve AND innovate – how law firms need to change in order to keep their reward strategy fit for purpose

Simon Nash, director, Insight Limited and formerly Global HR Director at Carey Olsen

Chapter 9: Adopting a total reward approach and segmenting the firm’s offering to reflect different employee preferences

Benjamin Viney, director of talent and rewards, and Polina Pavlova, consultant, Willis Towers Watson

Chapter 10: Work–life balance and flexible working – who benefits the most, employer, employee, or both?

Nina Gray, CEO, Gray Legal Search

Download chapters


Timothy B. Corcoran
Senior executive. Noted speaker and columnist and the author of Corcoran’s Business of Law blog
August Aquila
Internationally known speaker, consultant, and author
John Chisholm
Consultant, John Chisholm Consulting
Paul Lippe
Paul Lippe is the CEO of Legal OnRamp
Dan O’Day
Vice president, sales and client services, American LegalNet
Rebecca Holdredge
Rebecca  Holdredge  is  the  innovations  manager  at  Husch  Blackwell  and  an  experienced  data  scientist,  attorney  and  Six  Sigma  Black  Belt.  Rebecca  leads  the  firm’s  innovation  advisory  team  and  the  associates  legal  innovation  team  and  encourages  attorneys  to  create  a  culture  of  innovation,  efficiency,  and  quality  by  developing  best  practices  and  leveraging  technology.    She  also  engages  with  clients  and  in-house  counsel  to  better  understand  their  needs,  develop  relationships,  and  collaborate on innovative and effective solutions.  Rebecca is well versed in  the  approach  and  techniques  of  design  sprints  to  encourage  more  collaborative ideation and experimentation. 
Arthur G. Greene
Principal, Boyer Greene LLC
Simon Nash
Simon Nash read Law at Bristol University in the UK, and holds the Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and also membership of the British Psychological Society. Until 2017, Simon was the global HR director for Carey Olsen, a prestigious offshore law firm. While at Carey Olsen, he doubled the headcount while the firm tripled financial turnover and achieved Tier One rankings across all practices. Over this time, Simon’s people and performance strategy won four major awards and was widely written about in the HR and legal press. Now Simon runs, a human factors advisory firm, and ValueMetrix, a business ethics consultancy. He also has interests in two tech start-ups in the HR data analytics space.
Benjamin Viney
Director of talent and rewards, Willis Towers Watson
Polina Pavlova
Consultant, Willis Towers Watson
Nina Gray
CEO, Gray Legal Search

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