Compensation (Re)Design for Law Firms

Compensation (Re)Design for Law Firms is designed to help law firms develop a strategy and framework to ensure consistency and quality of remuneration decisions, retain and motivate individual lawyers, and incentivize them in ways that will benefit the partnership as a whole.

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  • Publication date: July, 2016
  • Pages: 107
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-242-6


The issue of compensation in law firms can be a minefield; the question of how to measure and reward partners combined with the increased pressure to provide greater value for less, more and more firms are being forced to rethink how legal work is priced and staffed, and how lawyers should be evaluated and compensated.
Compensation (Re)Design for Law Firms is designed to help law firms develop a strategy and framework to ensure consistency and quality of remuneration decisions, retain and motivate individual lawyers, and incentivize the compensation in ways that will benefit the partnership as a whole.

Compensation (Re)Design covers topics including:
  • Why remuneration programs exist in the first place
  • Best practices for partner compensation
  • Current trends in partner compensation in professional service firms
  • Combining KM and business development processes to provide additional client value
  • Utilizing individual scorecards to encourage partner performance
  • The vital components of a well-conceived compensation plan
  • Compensating and incentivizing right behaviours
  • Aligning a firm's compensation and strategic plans
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the firm's compensation system
  • Compensating 'management' to ensure future success
...and features expert insight, pragmatic guidance and supporting case studies from the likes of:
  • James D. Cotterman, principal of legal management consultancy Altman Weil, Inc.
  • August J. Aquila, CEO of AQUILA Global Advisors, LLC
  • Joel A. Rose, president of Joel A. Rose & Associates, Inc.
  • Michael Roster, co-chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel's Value Challenge Steering Committee; previously managing partner of Morrison & Foerster's Los Angeles office and GC of Stanford University
  • Arthur Greene, principal of Boyer Greene LLC
  • David C. Baca, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Julious P. Smith, Jr., chairman emeritus of Williams Mullen
  • Thomas Berman, principal at Berman Associates
  • Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal at Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC
  • John Jeffcock, Chief Executive, Winmark
Compensarion (Re)Design will help all law firm leaders establish a flexible compensation strategy that will address the current and future strategic needs of the firm.


Chapter 1: Why do we have compensation programs?

Chapter 2: Trends in partner compensation

Chapter 3: Components of a well-conceived partner compensation

Chapter 4: Differential compensation – A focus on practice groups

Chapter 5: Compensation to reward the right behaviors

Chapter 6: The managing partner’s perspective – Incentivizing the right behavior

Chapter 7: Strategic and compensation plans – Why do the lines never intersect?

Chapter 8: Compensation – A whole new set of rules

Chapter 9: Incentivizing the new normal

Chapter 10: A short guide to law firm management roles and compensation

Download chapters


Timothy B Corcoran
Timothy B Corcoran has led very profitable companies as a senior executive of several prominent businesses serving the legal profession, as well as leading the business development function of one of the world’s largest law firms. He now advises law firm leaders on how to profit in a time of great change, with particular emphasis on strategy, business process improvement, legal project management, and business development. He also advises legal vendors on market strategy and sales force readiness. He is a noted speaker and columnist and the author of Corcoran’s Business of Law blog.
August Aquila
August Aquila is an internationally known speaker, consultant, and author and has held leading positions in the accounting profession for more than 30 years. He held several executive leadership positions with American Express Tax and Business Services, Inc., was a partner in a top-50 accounting firm in Chicago, and regional marketing director for Coopers & Lybrand in Chicago. August specializes in helping firms develop performance-based compensation plans, transitioning firms from one generation to another, creating transformational strategic plans, conducting dedicated M&A searches, and taking firms to the next level. In 2004, 2007, 2009 to 2015 he was selected as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in The Accounting Profession” by Accounting Today.  He is the author of hundreds of articles and several books on practice management, mergers and acquisitions, and compensation plan designs.  Recent books include Engaging Partners in the Firm’s Future (Bay Street Publishing), What Successful Managing Partners Do (Bay Street Publishing), Performance is Everything (AICPA, 2012), Compensation as a Strategic Asset (AICPA, 2007), and Client at the Core (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). He can be reached at or 1-952-930-1295. For more information, see
James D. Cotterman
Principal, Altman Weil, Inc
Joel A Rose
Certified management consultant, and president, Joel A Rose & Associates Inc
Michael Roster
Steering committee co-chair, Association of Corporate Counsel’s Value Challenge
Arthur G. Greene
Principal, Boyer Greene LLC
Julious P. Smith
Julious P. Smith, chairman emeritus and past CEO, Williams Mullen
Thomas Berman
Founder, Berman & Associates