Slaughter and May unveils major review of reward and benefits

Changes promote the firm’s distinctive ethos and culture

Slaughter and May announces today the outcome of a major review of employee reward and recognition, following the completion of an extensive internal consultation process.  This consultation, which has taken place over the course of much of 2016, was led by a working group of partners in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory company with a particular expertise in human capital and benefits.  The centrepiece of the consultation was an all employee survey, which attracted an impressive 84% response rate, and was accompanied by a series of focus groups.

The key outcomes of the review are set out below. They are all designed to promote the firm’s distinctive ethos and culture. The survey revealed that both are strongly valued by Slaughter and May’s employees, who were informed earlier today.

  • Associate salary scales will increase from 1 January 2017.
  • A bonus will be paid to employees on 31 December 2016.
  • Associate remuneration to be distributed in a way that mirrors the flat lockstep structure of the firm’s partnership. This reflects the strong collective belief in Slaughter and May’s distinctive no billable hours targets culture. 95% of associates and trainees and 86% of support staff who participated in the survey were clear that this approach is a key attraction to working at the firm.
  • Employees to have a total of 30 days’ annual paid holiday from 1 January 2017 (pro-rated for part-time employees).
  • A four week paid sabbatical will be introduced for associates when they reach three years’ PQE.
  • All associates will have the opportunity to apply to work one day a week from home with effect from 1 January 2017.

Commenting on the review and its outcomes, Steve Cooke, Senior Partner of Slaughter and May, said:

“The first thing I would say is that we have listened. Our staff have expressed their views very clearly and so the areas we all most value – the quality of our work, our commitment to excellence and our collegiality –underpin what we have announced today. 

“There is a strong collective belief in our no billable hours targets culture and indeed 95% of associates believe that billable hours targets would have a detrimental effect on the firm’s culture. This clearly differentiates us from our competitors – in a positive way.  Further, the overwhelming message from our associates and trainees is that they do not want to see pay differentiated on the basis of performance. We will therefore continue to remunerate in a less differentiated and more egalitarian way than many of our competitors.  We have a very strong sense of a “one firm” culture and the desire to be all in it together.”

Richard Clark, Slaughter and May’s Executive Partner who led the partner working group, added:

“Core to our culture is our lack of billable hours targets and our belief in a “one firm” approach.  This has enabled us to create a distinctive structure that we believe best meets the aspirations of our talented teams across the firm.

 “We have adopted a highly consultative and carefully considered approach to reviewing how we can best recognise and motivate our people.  Our objective has been to arrive at a progressive and holistic package that includes remuneration but also supports the cultural values that are most important to all our employees.”

Details of Salary Review

Based on PQE levels as at March 2016, Slaughter and May’s salary scales for associates will increase with effect from 1 January 2017 as follows (current rates in brackets):

Newly qualified: £78,000 (£71,500)
One year PQE £87,000 (£79,000)
Two years’ PQE £98,500 (£90,250)
Three years’ PQE £108,000 (£99,750)

Trainee rates will remain unchanged at £43,000 for first year trainees and £48,000 for second year trainees.

The annual salary review is expected to take place as usual in May 2017.

Annual Bonus

A bonus will be paid to employees on 31 December 2016.

The standard associate bonus ranges from 9% to 16%, depending on PQE, in line with last year.

Trainees, business services, PSLs, secretaries and paralegals will receive a bonus of 3%.

Other benefits

In addition to all current benefits, the following benefits will be introduced during the course of 2017:

  • An onsite doctor
  • Dental insurance on a self-pay basis
  • Matching pension contributions for all employees under 25
  • Qualification leave loan for trainees.

For further information, please contact: Steve Cooke, Senior Partner, Richard Clark, Executive Partner, Ben Girdlestone, Head of Communications on +44 (0)20 7600 1200