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This article, like many others, was first published exclusively for long-term supporters, 1 hour before everyone else got to read it.

Normal is the new exception: Trilegal rolls out annual PQE increments to all lawyers as usual • LKS freezes increments, bonuses

Sometimes doing what is normal is abnormal, especially so in the days of the coronavirus on the loose.

PQE increment situation normal at Trilegal
PQE increment situation normal at Trilegal

Trilegal has internally announced ordinary annual increments in pay to fee-earners, in contrast to many other big firms such as Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS) that has frozen fee-earner salaries, while in some cases many have also implemented across the board cuts.

At most law firms during non-Covid-19-days, associates and fee-earners automatically advance to the next level of post-qualification experience (PQE) every year, and their salary also therefore increases automatically every year.

At Trilegal, the announcement of increments is made every year in July, with retrospective effect from 1 April that year, and so it was this year (and in May, Trilegal had also paid out bonuses, though at lower than usual levels).

We have reached out to Trilegal for comment. Co-managing partner Sridhar Gorthi confirmed: “We have implemented increments across all levels of lawyers and staff in accordance with past practice.

“Our people have worked hard through very challenging times and the firm is committed to doing the best it can for them. We are closely monitoring the ongoing impact of the pandemic on our practice and will respond to situations as they unfold.

“At this stage we believe this step was in the best interests of our firm and our people.”

Business not usual, of course

Fearing an economic crisis and future even harder hits on cashflows, a lot of firms have been battening down the hatches.

At Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS), for instance, all fee-earners were recently told that bonuses and increments have been deferred until next year.

We reached out to the firm for comment but have received no response.

Meanwhile, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas has deferred fresher starting dates to 2021 and deferred fee-earner salaries (which we would strongly assume also means no increments but please correct us if we’re wrong).

Similar deferral measures also at L&L Partners’ litigation partnership, while at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas the variable salary component was deferred.

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