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November 2, 2009 12:30 PM

Drinker Biddle Cuts 22 Associates, Switches to Merit-Based Pay

Posted by Brian Baxter

Philadelphia firm Drinker Biddle & Reath has conducted a second round of layoffs and switched its associates to a performance-based compensation system, according to a report by sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer.

The firm let go of 22 associates firmwide on Friday, but declined The Intelligencer's request for comment on the cuts. Drinker Biddle has nearly 700 total lawyers, roughly 300 of them associates.

News of the layoffs was first reported by Above the Law.

Drinker Biddle previously let go of 20 lawyers last December. Aside from the most recent round of layoffs, the firm's move to revamp its compensation model for associates comes on the heels of a similar move made last week by Reed Smith.

Drinker Biddle had slashed first-year associate pay from $145,000 to $105,000 in May, but now The Intelligencer reports that compensation will now be graded on four competency levels: legal skills, citizenship/support of firm culture, leadership and business skills, and understanding client needs. The system will go into effect at the start of the firm's new fiscal year on February 1.

According to Am Law 100 financial data, last year Drinker Biddle had gross revenues of $382 million and profits per equity partner of $605,000.

And while we managed to make it through this post without taking any potshots at Philadelphia--considering all the flak we've heard from Phillies fans in recent days--it seems that firms in the City of Brotherly Love are staying mum on how much they're forking over for World Series tickets.

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