Corrs leader Gavin MacLaren is a $6m man – Michmutters

Corrs leader Gavin MacLaren is a $6m man

Word is he has overtaken John Nerurker of Mills Oakley, who is said to be on more than $5 million as part of a deal that ties him to the firm’s highest earner. And that MacLaren is on up to double the pay of CEOs at the big six: MinterEllison, King & Wood Mallesons, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, Herbert Smith Freehills and Allens.

Law firm leaders, who have heard the same numbers, are incredulous at what is an extraordinarily top-heavy remuneration system for a law partnership.

Other top earners at Corrs include Chris Pagent (head of class actions) and Mark McCowan (head of competition). Both are said to be earning around $4 million.

Salary tables

Normally, salary tables are shared with partners. But in another MacLaren initiative, remuneration arrangements are no longer available to the broader partnership.

This has put a lot of noses out of joint, and is a reason why people are getting itchy feet. They fear they will never be part of the “MacLaren’s club” of high earners, and that they are actually subsidizing the pay of those at the top.

Corrs has 145 partners. As one CEO explained, you could take $50,000 off 100 of those partners and have a pretty big pool to redistribute for those at the top. And it’s not as if the regular pay/partner draw isn’t going up, especially in this market.

Those to have left this year include highly regarded infrastructure partners Andrew McCormack (Brisbane) and Chris Campbell (Perth), who both joined Ashurst. Head of intellectual property Kate Hay (Melbourne) moved to King & Wood Mallesons, while another IP partner, Helen Clarke (Brisbane), joined Johnson Winter & Slattery. Litigation partner Spencer Flay (Perth) went to Clifford Chance.

We sought comment from Corrs, but again came up doughnuts. Aside from the comment that it was “transitioning out of personal injury” (for some clients), there’s been nothing.

Who is coming up with this bad communications strategy? Perhaps it’s the same genius who decided the Catholic Church didn’t need a heads-up that they were about to be dumped as a client.

The partners even got an email at 7.21am on July 25 – the day after The Australian Financial Review‘s Street Talk broke the church story – reminding them that unauthorized contact with the media was verboten.

As they say in the classics – aka the media book of cliches – if you leave a vacuum, someone will fill it. And those lining up to do so grow by the day.

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