In a move that will make it amongst the highest paying law firms in India for entry level associates, Nishith Desai Associates (NDA) has announced a reworked compensation structure for its lawyers.
As per a firm release, the total annual compensation for entry level lawyers has now been increased from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 17.4 lakh.
The revised structure also sees an increase in the total reward package for lawyers having up to five years of Post Qualification Experience (PQE). This revised salary will be paid starting January 2021.
The release quotes Founder and Managing Partner Nishith Desai as saying,
“The current move is designed to express our gratitude to the firm members, who have relentlessly worked throughout the lockdown to have the firm swim through Covid 19 pandemic fairly successfully…”
The move follows the formation of a Compensation Committee at the firm, set up with the objective of determining bonus pay-outs for 2020 and salary revision for 2021.
In 2019, bonuses for NDA lawyers averaged at 56%, going as high as 98%. The compensation is determined based on the PAL system (performance, attitude and loyalty).
As part of the next phase, the Compensation Committee will undertake the compensation review for lawyers who have experience of more than five years.
Speaking about the philosophy of the firm as regards its remuneration structure, Partner Gowree Gokhale said in the release,
“The firm continues to believe in its philosophy that in the first 3 years – or 1000 days – a lawyer needs to focus on competency development – learning, research, knowledge and skills- above all. We seek to avoid undue relative comparisons among our young talent. For these initial 3 years, we prefer our talent not to be concerned about remuneration, hence, members are paid equal remuneration at each level. During this time, members should hone expertise and specialisation, working across practices and teams without weighing compensation impact.”