July 14, 2011 4:35 PM

DLA Piper Explores Changes to Partner Compensation Overseas

Posted by Dana Olsen

As DLA Piper continues its worldwide expansion, the world’s largest law firm is exploring a change to its compensation structure that would make equity partners of all its partners in overseas offices, Legal Week reported on Tuesday.

DLA Piper International, which comprises the firm's offices in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, currently operates a three-tier partnership split between a band of equity partners and two tiers of fixed-share partners. If the all-equity plan is put into effect, fixed-share partners in those countries will be asked to contribute capital in return for equity status, Legal Week reported. DLA Piper's U.S. offices made the switch to an all-equity partnership in 2008, when 275 salaried partners invested capital in the firm and began receiving a direct percentage of the profits.

The firm has a working group in place to address potential changes to its compensation structure, and will make a recommendation to the partnership.

DLA Piper declined to comment on the compensation changes.

DLA Piper is pursuing partner-compensation changes amid a flurry of partner hires and promotions worldwide.

DLA Piper's London office hired Trevor Butcher, a former CMS Cameron McKenna, in April, and Irene Hurrel, former in-house counsel of Ofgem, the British gas and electric regulator, in June, to head of the firm's energy practice. Both hires boosted DLA Piper's energy practice in the London office, Legal Week reported Thursday.

In other countries, seven lawyers left Hogan Lovells in Munich for DLA Piper's office there in early June;  Diwakar Agarwal, of Reed Smith, joined DLA Piper's Dubai office Tuesday; and Yan Zhao from Foley & Lardner, joined DLA Piper as a partner in its Shanghai office.

On July 1, the firm promoted 16 attorneys in Australia, and hinted that lateral hires would come next, according to The Australian. Days later, DLA Piper announced that Simone Mitchell left Clayton Utz to join DLA Piper's Sydney office.

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