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Compensation Matters: Incentives for Multitasking in a Law Firm

Listed author(s):
  • Ann Bartel
  • Brianna Cardiff-Hicks
  • Kathryn Shaw

Due to the limited availability of firm-level compensation data, there is little empirical evidence on the impact of compensation plans on personal productivity. We study an international law firm that moves from high-powered individual incentives towards incentives for "leadership" activities that contribute to the firm's long run profitability. The effect of this change on the task allocation of the firm's team leaders is large and robust; team leaders increase their non-billable hours and shift billable hours to team members. Although the motivation for the change in the compensation plan was the multitasking problem, this change also impacted the way tasks were allocated within each team, resulting in greater teamwork.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19412.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19412.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
Publication status: published as “Incentives for Lawyers: Moving Away from "Eat-What-You-Kill,” (with Ann Bartel and Brianna Cardiff-Hicks), Industrial and Labor Relations Review, forthcoming.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19412
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