Given Field Fisher Waterhouse’s (FFW) reliance on the heavily squeezed public sector, managing partner Moira Gilmour admits that the firm had forecast a flat year at best. So the fact that turnover and average profit per equity partner were up even slightly – to £94m and £510,000 respectively – is good news in her book.
The firm opened new offices in Düsseldorf and Munich in March. Its European footprint now accounts for 15 per cent of turnover. The increasing European contribution has sparked a constitutional review, which will include an overhaul of the firm’s partnership agreements and management structure.
FFW’s existing management board is chaired by Gilmour and contains the elected heads of departments, including IP/IT chief Mark Abell, head of regulatory Matthew Lohn, real estate leader Antony Phillips, head of corporate Andrew Blankfield, litigation leader Paul McNeil and Continental board member Eric Cusas from the Brussels office. A non-lawyer partnership secretary also sits on the board.
The review of the firm’s traditional partnership agreements aims to better reflect its European capability and the firm is also considering whether the management board should become bigger or smaller, whether it should include other partners, including non-executives, and whether the firm has a need for membership committees.
Gilmour is set to present the new constitutional proposals during the firm’s partner conference in November and will implement the changes in May 2012.
FFW operates a modified lockstep, with a remuneration committee deciding on merit-based elements of the points allocation every two years.