What Does Your Compensation Plan Look Like?

Brenda Barnes, CPA

How to split the pie has long been a quandary for many law firms. I am sure the first question you may ask yourself – Is there really a well-developed compensation plan for attorneys? After all, Big Law is paying entry level associates more than they should, mid-size firms are cannibalizing themselves by continuing to pay non-productive partners a piece of the profits or high compensation based on client originations they no longer service, and small firms are finding themselves in a variation of hybrids of eat-what-you kill. It is enough to make your head spin or worse, it creates so much unwelcome change that management sticks their head in the sand and keeps the status quo.

Since this is the time of year when law firms typically begin their year-end push for collections and associate compensation reviews and bonus pool allocations take place, it’s also a good time to remind you of some basic considerations:

1) Attorneys work for many complex reasons. Compensation is an important factor, but not the only consideration. The relative importance of compensation and other factors in job contentment vary with the individual and the circumstances.

2) Attorneys work to: have a purpose in life, aid their clients, out of pride in their profession or their firm, for camaraderie and for approval of their peers, their partners and relatives. Attorneys work for money as well. The burning question across the profession is: how much is enough? The answer: it depends.

3) Every firm has its own set of revenue issues, personalities and enduring culture. There is no one-size fits all system.

The current compensation market is extremely competitive which limits the control for many firms. There are so many factors to consider when establishing your compensation systems. At the end of the day, ask yourself: is your current system fair? And more importantly, is it perceived to be fair by others? The attorneys may not like the results of the system in any given year, but as long as they perceive it to be fair, you have won most of the battle!

B2 has a team of consultants that work with firms on compensation plans. Let us help you build the foundation.

B2 can maximize your efficiencies and exceed your revenue goals…while you take care of your clients, we will take care of you!

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B2 is proud to announce it is a certified Centerbase consultant!

Centerbase is a fully integrated cloud-based practice management system.

Visit Centerbase for more information and then contact me at bbarnes@b2-mgmt.com. We can guide you through your conversion, implementation and training!