Lockstep compensation
Lockstep compensation is a system of remuneration in which the employees' salaries are based purely on their seniority within the organization. For example, in the legal profession, where this system is most commonly found, all law school graduates hired by a law firm who graduated in the same year receive the same base pay, regardless of the background, experience, or ability of each. These associates will also receive automatic annual pay raises, bonuses, and promotions. Alternatively, some law firms implement a lockstep compensation system starting with partners or partner-track associates. During the late-2000s financial crisis, some law firms began replacing the lockstep system with "merit-based" systems.
Proponents of the system have argued that lockstep compensation promotes loyalty, discourages intra-office competition, reduces the need for perpetual performance assessment, and provides for more flexible work structures. These benefits, however, are limited to situations where a business can predict with some certainty the future productivity of an employee. At the same time, however, the system has been criticized for being inefficient and reducing incentives for employees to improve performance. Because a lockstep system provides little to no accountability for employee productivity, there can be little assurance that employees will not take advantage by reducing their output or that extremely energetic employees will be undercompensated.
Some law firms have modified their lockstep system to allow for performance-based bonus structures. These bonuses can partially cure the incentive-based issues that stem from lockstep compensation. Other law firms have moved toward adopting a purely merit-based compensation system for associates. Purely merit-based models have been criticized as too volatile to endure, however, with the prominent failed example of Dewey & LeBoef failing under a merit-based partnership system.

This is an excerpt from the article Lockstep compensation from the Wikipedia free encyclopedia. A list of authors is available at Wikipedia.
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Lockstep compensation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lockstep compensation is a system of remuneration in which the employees' salaries are based purely on their seniority within the organization. For example, in ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockstep_compensation
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Lockstep Compensation « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News ...
A number of super-elite New York law firms have Lockstep compensation systems , in which partners are paid purely based on seniority, and these firms are ...
abovethelaw.com/tag/lockstep-compensation/
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Killing Lockstep « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News ...
But what if you're an associate at a major law firm with a Lockstep compensation system? You should see a seniority-based raise reflected in your first paycheck ...
abovethelaw.com/killing-lockstep/
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Is Lockstep Compensation the Key to Happy Associates ... - Vault.com
Sep 25, 2012 ... As part of its special section on the future of BigLaw, the New York Times examined the culture at firms that have held on to a pure lockstep...
www.vault.com/blog/salary-and-benefits/is-lockstep-compensation-the-key-to-happy-associates/
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Culture | Lockstep Compensation - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton ...
At one time, most premier U.S. law firms divided profits among partners on the basis of seniority, through a system known as "lockstep" compensation.
www.cgsh.com/de/careers/dc/whycleary/lockstep_compensation
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Cravath, Cleary and Debevoise Put Partnerships First - NYTimes.com
Sep 24, 2012... Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, are three remaining law firms that adhere to a strict lock-step compensation system, paying their partners in ...
dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/culture-keeps-firms-together-in-trying-times/
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Partner Compensation Systems in Professional Service Firms Part I
We have found that almost all compensation systems fall into seven basic categories--or variations of these categories: 1. Equal Partnership 2. Lock-Step 3.
www.edge.ai/Edge-International-1057905.html
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Lawyer salaries - lockstep vs. merit-based pay - Edwards Gibson
Lawyer salaries - lockstep vs. merit-based pay. By Robina Clough. We're coming to that time of year again when UK law firms start thinking about (and ...
www.edwardsgibson.com/article/view/53
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DROP LOCK STEP FOR PERFORMANCE- BASED COMPENSATION
the way many Texas firms compensate their lawyers. With radical change comes a great opportunity. A lock-step compensation system rewards associ-.
www.pyelegalgroup.com/data/team_members/other/6_2_PyeLegalGroup_TexLawyer_Stacy_032010.pdf
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Illustration Of A Lockstep Progression Income Distribution Plan Tied ...
The lockstep income distribution system which is illustrated in this article ... Intrinsic to a system of equal compensation of the more senior partners is the ...
weilandco.com/new/lockstep.html
Search results for "Lockstep compensation"
Google: approx. 158.000
Lockstep compensation in science
What is Lockstep Compensation? - HR Glossary | HRZone
Definition of the term Lockstep compensation, part of the HRZone business and ... No other factors, such as merit, performance background or university, affect ...
Is Lockstep Compensation the Key to Happy Associates? - LexisNexis
Sep 26, 2012... Lockstep compensation structure-for both partners and associates. ... holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Tufts University.
Lockstep compensation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lockstep compensation is a system of remuneration in which the employees' salaries are based purely on their seniority within the organization. For example, in ...
[PDF]How We Pay Professors and Why It Matters - CD Howe Institute
aspects suggest that determining the salaries of university professors should ..... quite varied and can be classified into three categories: lock-step, automatic ...
[PDF]Merit-Based Compensation as an Alternative to Lockstep: Firms Test ...
lockstep promotions for associates and the emergence of ... compensation systems is relatively straightforward: ..... WorkLife Law at the University of. California ...
Cravath, Cleary and Debevoise Put Partnerships First - NYTimes.com
Sep 24, 2012... to a strict lock-step compensation system, paying their partners in a ... to fail,” said William Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University.
The Changing Classroom - Loss of master's degree pay bump has ...
Sep 1, 2012 ... Statewide in teachers colleges connected to the University of ... "But it's not going to be lock-step compensation awards like it used to be.".
Financing Canadian Universities: A Self-Inflicted Wound (Part 5 ...
Sep 13, 2013 ... Finally, there's the faculty:student ratio, which fell more or less in lockstep with academic salary mass until 2001. After that, individual faculty ...
Lockstep vs. Eat-What-You-Kill: Compensation statistics highlight ...
Sep 27, 2012 ... At the peak of its compensation disparity, the ratio between highest- and ... to a strict lock-step compensation system) left the firm in 2005, after 23 years. ... University of Calgary Faculty of Law Blog · University of Toronto Law ...
[PDF]Article on Starting Salaries for Lawyers
salaries, why big firm salaries are outpacing other employers .... University of Southern California Law School, CA .... ning lock-step salary structures and instead.
Books on the term Lockstep compensation
Compensation Plans for Law Firms
Compensation Plans for Law Firms
James D. Cotterman, 2010
Lawyers' compensation, as previously indicated, typically rises until around the thirtieth year of practice, and then it ... The addition of a bonus plan to a Lockstep compensation program enables the firm to provide meaningful recognition to ...
The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis
The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis
Steven J. Harper, 2013
*Starred Review* Harper, an attorney and law-school professor, investigates the causes of what he sees as a rapid decline in the sustainability of and professionalism in the legal profession while providing novel solutions. He starts with law-school deans gleefully accepting easily awarded student loans in order to pump naive applicants into a larg...
Eat What You Kill: The Fall of a Wall Street Lawyer
Eat What You Kill: The Fall of a Wall Street Lawyer
Milton C. Regan, 2004
Milbank needed to expand its base of cliems. and it didn't have time to develop ^ rainmakers Iroin within. Its commitmem to Lockstep compensation. however. made it difficuh to attract high.revenue partners from other firms. As more and more of ...
What It Takes: Seven Secrets of Success from the World's Greatest Professional Firms
What It Takes: Seven Secrets of Success from the World's Greatest Professional Firms
Charles D. Ellis, 2013
“This is the best book about corporate leadership that I've ever read. Charley Ellis really knows what he's talking about.”—John Whitehead, former Co-Chairman, Goldman Sachs & Co., former Deputy Secretary of State“Clear, crisp, and actionable insights on leadership, which can only come from a well experienced scholar and practitioner ...
Eat What You Kill: The Fall of a Wall Street Lawyer
Eat What You Kill: The Fall of a Wall Street Lawyer
Milton C Regan Jr., 2004
Furthermore, Milbank needed to expand its base of clients, and it didn't have time to develop “rainmakers” from within. Its commitment to Lockstep compensation, however, made it dif‹cult to attract high-revenue partners from other ‹rms. As more ...
The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law
The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law
Nancy Levit and Douglas O. Linder, 2010
You get good grades in college, pay a small fortune to put yourself through law school, study hard to pass the bar exam, and finally land a high-paying job in a prestigious firm. You're happy, right? Not really. Oh, it beats laying asphalt, but after all your hard work, you expected more from your job. What gives?The Happy Lawyer examines the ...
ABA Journal
ABA Journal
The decline of Lockstep compensation sets the backdrop against which business production, billings, Deborah Graham is a free-lance writer in Chicago. and other factors have emerged as key cards in the legal earnings game. The Baby Boom ...
Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools
Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools
Steven Brill, 2012
“With fresh color and a compelling storyline, Brill has managed to produce the seemingly impossible: an exciting book about education policy. . . . There is a lot to learn from Class Warfare. . . . Brill has a Woodwardian knack for getting people to tell him things they probably shouldn’t.” –Time“[Brill] brings a sharp legal mind to the world of ed...
Law Firm Partnership Agreements
Law Firm Partnership Agreements
Leslie D. Corwin, Arthur J. Ciampi, 1998
These events include formation,4 partner compensation,5 partner departures/ retirement,7 death,8 disability,9 dissolution ... must address is compensation.13 For all but a handful of firms, gone are the days of "lock-step" compensation when a ...
Great People Decisions: Why They Matter So Much, Why They are So Hard, and How You Can Master Them
Great People Decisions: Why They Matter So Much, Why They are So Hard, and How You Can Master Them
Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, 2007
Great organizations are made up of great people. And for leaders at all levels within those organizations, the ability to find, hire, integrate, and retain great people is an absolutely critical skill—critical to their organization's success, and critical to their own success. But for most people, making great appointments is difficult, time-c...
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Blog posts on the term
Lockstep compensation
Is Lockstep Compensation the Key to Happy Associates?
As part of its special section on the future of BigLaw, the New York Times examined the culture at firms that have held on to a pure Lockstep compensation structure-for both partners and associates. According to the managing partners at Cravath , Cleary...
www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/careerguidance/archive/2012/09/26/is-lockstep-compensation-the-key-to-happy-associates.aspx
Another BigLaw firm drops a less lucrative estates practice. Was lockstep compensation the reason?
Debevoise & Plimpton is eliminating its trusts and estates practice, following in the steps of Biglaw firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Estates work is less lucrative for law firms than deal-making and litigation, explains the New York Times DealBook blog. The work doesn’t require armies of junior lawyers that can create more profits. And many wealthy clients don’t want to pay BigLaw rates that can reach $1,000 an hour. Another factor is Debevoise’s Lockstep compensation system, sources told DealBook. Under the firm's pay model, the estate group’s only partner would be paid the same amount as a star rainmaker with the same years of experience, even while producing fewer revenues. “This created some discord in the partnership ranks,” the story says. The decline of trusts and estates practices at large law firms has led to creation of more boutiques that focus on the…
www.abajournal.com/news/article/another_biglaw_firm_drops_a_less_lucrative_estates_practice._was_lockstep_c/
Dorf on Law: The Real Lessons of the Dewey & LeBoeuf Collapse
By Mike Dorf A few weeks ago, the New Yorker ran an article by James Stewart describing the collapse of the Dewey & Leboeuf law firm. (The article begins here but the rest of it is behind a pay wall.
www.dorfonlaw.org/2013/10/the-real-lessons-of-dewey-leboeuf.html
The Shifting Associate Paradigm
Comment on an article
amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2009/11/the-shifting-associate-paradigm.html
Some Law Firms End Lockstep Pay for Associates, as Economy Plummets
A dismal economy is driving some law firms to take cost-cutting measures that will likely reap big benefits for them in the long run. And eliminating the
www.abajournal.com/news/article/some_law_firms_end_lockstep_pay_as_economy_plummets/
Lockstep vs. Eat-What-You-Kill: Compensation statistics highlight Dewey LeBoeuf’s folly | Lexpert Magazine - Blog
I read an interesting story in the New York Times this week about partner compensation in the post-Dewey LeBoeuf world. A sign marking the Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP headquarters on 6th avenue is seen in New York May 29, 2012.
lexpertblog.com/2012/09/27/comparison-stats-highlight-dewey-leboeufs-folly/
The Argument for Eliminating Lock-Step Partner Compensation
Beginning at the end of 1999, law firms began accelerating the rate at which they increased associate compensation.
www.bcgsearch.com/article/61600/The-Argument-for-Eliminating-Lock-Step-Partner-Compensation/
Will Abandoning Lock-step Mean Salary Cuts At Dorsey & Whitney? - Business Insider
The firm is moving to a more "merit-based" salary package.
www.businessinsider.com/does-lockstep-mean-salary-cuts-at-dorsey--whitney-2009-10
Merit-Based Compensation for Associates
Law firm compensation looks a lot like a game of Simon Says. Simon (or Cravath ) Says pay all first years x. Simon Says pay all first years y. Pay first years based on their performance. Tsk, tsk . . . I didn't say "Simon Says." Most...
www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/lexis-hub/b/career-news-and-trends/archive/2011/05/13/merit-based-compensation-for-associates.aspx
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