Monday, 16 November 2009

Spent it Now!

Having just blogged about not panicing (see my last post), I'm back on my favourite theme - that of short-termism in the industry. What is it about partners and those running law firms that makes them focus so much on this month, this quarter and, in we're lucky, this year - while seeming to ignore next year and the longer term?

Look at this news story from "The Lawyer" entiled "Lovells partners in line for post-merger windfall". The  story explains that with the merger of Lovells and Hogan & Hartson, partners will be eligible for performance based bonuses. Lovells were in the same publication last week in connection with half year results - where they were predicting flat results. Now that is better than most firms at the moment - but is it the sort of results that should merit additional bonus payments.

More importantly (because I think the move to a meritocratic system is a good one, all things considered), I can't find any information about the proposed merger that talks about investment in the new business. There seems to be lots of news about the benefits to the partners - but none about the benefit to the firm itself. In fact I couldn't find any news about the merger on Lovell's web site at all. Hogan & Hartson's did carry a news item (see here) which does seek to show benefits for clients - although these are mostly along the lines of "we'll be bigger and bigger is better - right?".

I would be really impressed if the firms had made an announcement that any additional bonus payments would be based on longer term objectives and measurements (sounds like the suggestions for bankers, doesn't it?), or if the news talked about investment for the future. Instead the news (and I acknowledge that "The Lawyer" is looking for a good story rather than anything else) is all about short term, personal, benefits.

Isn't this one of the issues that helped cause the recession?

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