RPC has abandoned its all-equity partnership in favour of a tiered structure which sticks a layer of fixed share partners and a layer of salaried partners beneath the equity.
The firm claims the new model, already adopted by most City firms, will give its people a "credible and recognisable alternative" to full equity partnership, as senior associates will be able to gain entry to the partnership on a lower rung of the ladder (...for less money). The firm's current 76 equity partners will remain unaffected.
"We still expect and encourage people to aspire to full equity partnership", said managing partner James Miller. While the firm's lawyers "don't necessarily have to work through all the career levels to achieve that", he said the new model would allow aspiring partners to "first enter the partnership either at salaried or fixed-share level while they build their business case".
RPC associates have previously told RollOnFriday that while they are generally happy with their lot, career prospects tend to fall off a cliff once they reach senior level.
"This new flexible partnership structure will broaden the pool of people we can bring in to the partnership to offer greater strength in depth for clients across our core areas of focus," said Miller.
He acknowledged that "the battle for talent is fierce" and predicted that the new structure would "help us to retain our best people, attract new talent, and deliver better outcomes for our clients."
Climbing the greasy pole at RPC.
RPC's move means that pure equity partnerships are now even more of a rarity in the City. Slaughter and May is pretty much the only major firm sticking with it.