Want to "customize" your compensation and hours?
At Dallas-based Thompson & Knight, managing partner Jeffrey Zlotky says "no more than a handful of senior associates" have agreed over the past year to accept reduced compensation in exchange for reduced hours -- and possibly a title change to "of counsel." "We are not forcing anyone to do this. ... But this does make it work for the firm and the associates," Zlotky says. He and partner Shad Sumrow, chair of the firm's legal personnel committee, stress that Thompson & Knight historically has offered a program to customize hours and salaries for senior associates who may have family issues that necessitate reduced hours or who may no longer be on the partnership track but nonetheless remain valued lawyers.
The recent number of associates accepting such customization of their hours and compensation may or may not reflect economic pressures, says Zlotky. But he says the program is flexible enough to provide possibilities for the firm to adjust to economic downturns if management so chooses. With customization, Zlotky says it's possible that senior associates who become of counsel may earn less per year than a first-year associate. In May 2009, Thompson & Knight laid off for economic reasons 17 lawyers and 25 support staff in all of its U.S. offices, including Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Texas, Austin, Texas, and New York.
First reported in Texas Lawyer: Tex Parte Blog.