Devonshires, one of the most profitable firms in the City, has reneged on the bonuses it said it would pay to its associates.

The firm makes a stack of cash: its ten equity partners apparently pull in between £700,000 and £1.2m each. But it seems it is also as tight as a duck's arse. Insiders say that there are no pensions, newly qualified solicitors are paid a market-trailing £40,000 p.a., and associates further up the food chain have been denied salary rises.

In an effort to address the resulting discontent the firm introduced a bonus scheme last year. Lawyers who beat their billable targets would get an extra 15%, and a further 10% was on offer for client development work. Fair enough. But hard working associates who received the letters announcing their bonuses last week were told that the firm had "miscalculated" the figures. In fact the 15% bonus would only kick in if associates beat their targets by 25%. And the number of lawyers who got the discretionary 10% was, errr, none.


The unfortunate associates have been left with a choice of sucking it up or trying to assemble a claim for breach of contract. The firm refused to comment.

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