Sutherland Ditches Lockstep
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Atlanta based Sutherland is joining the rush to abandon lockstep compensation and is moving to a merit based system similar to the one other top firms have adopted or are planning to adopt. Associates will be classified as junior, mid-level and senior, with the levels roughly corresponding to their time in the firm. Unlike lockstep compensation increases, however, it’s possible for an associate to move forward at a faster or slower pace than his or her classmates, based on demonstrating proficiency at certain core skills. Sutherland says this change is designed to meet the wishes of their clients, many of whom are unwilling to continue to pay billing rates based solely on the length of time an associate has been with the firm.

Additionally, Sutherland is cutting the pay for new associates in its Atlanta office, but associates in its other offices will continue to earn $160k. Atlanta associates will now start at $135k.



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