Law firm Hammonds has told its partners they will have to justify their six-figure pay packets.
It plans to move towards "a system of remuneration and reward based more closely on partner performance".
Longest serving partners currently get the most but now "a significant proportion" will be based on how much work is generated.
The tougher line comes despite partners' already having to put their hands in their pockets to bail out the business.
Hammonds, whose Birmingham office has 240 staff including 147 fee earners, has been going through a difficult time.
The 94 equity partners in the firm were told in February they would have to repay #3.5 million - around #37,000 each.
It followed a write-off of fees to the then Customs & Excise and coincided with a delayed audit, a string of partners quitting, 60 redundancies including 16 in Birmingham and the announcement of a strategic review.
Equity partners were prevailed on to accept a so-called lock-in where they agreed to stick with the firm until July next year.
Hammonds changed its auditors to PricewaterhouseCoopers and, after PwC completed a probe into the books, it recommended changes to the 2003-04 draft accounts that left a net shortfall of #8.1 million - the result of insufficient debt and work in progress provisions along with a decision not to go through with proposed accounting changes.
That meant partners having to repay a further #86,170 each.
Many of the problems were blamed on rapid expansion.
The firm had gone through a series of mergers in the UK and established a string of European operations - a strategy it still believes to be correct.
Hammonds had had two poor years of trading which in 2004/5 saw profits per partner fall 25 per cent to #204,000, though turnover was slightly up at #127 million.
Now the strategy review has reported.
It is the result of interviews with over 100 partners, and 250 current and potential clients. The process was assisted by consultants. There are four main recommendations: n A refocusing of the firm on particular market segments n Departments to be cut from eight to four - corporate strategy and finance, real estate, commercial and dispute resolution and human capital - operating across UK and international offices n A new management structure to include a non-executive chairman to replace the role of senior partner, and the creation of strategy director to assist the managing partner to implement the new direction n A move towards a system of remuneration and reward based more closely on partner performance
Partners will vote on recommendations at the end of February.
Managing partner Peter Crossley, who has previously admitted "serious mistakes" were made, promised the reorganisation would be driven forward.
"We need to get the firm clearly back on the growth path," he warned.
Mr Crossley said the first seven months of this year had seen Hammonds ahead of budget with the Birmingham office operating "very well" and with a strong pipeline of work. ..SUPL: