Adrian Collins and John Joyce confirmed as Addleshaws’ managing partner candidates

Addleshaw Goddard has nominated partners Adrian Collins and John Joyce as the challengers to replace incumbent Paul Devitt in the firm’s forthcoming managing partner election.

The Lawyer first revealed Collins and Joyce as frontrunners for Addleshaws’ leadership battle in February, when it became apparent that partners were bracing themselves for a contested election (17 February 2014).

After a period of hustings all partners will be eligible to vote in the election, which is due to close in mid-May.

Addleshaws’ new managing partner will serve for a three-year term beginning mid-May 2014.

Collins joined the firm in 2000 and headed up the real estate division between 2009 and 2013 and has served on the governance board, while Joyce has been a partner since 1998 and head of business support and restructuring since 2007, and is also a serving member of the governance board.  

Incumbent Devitt’s current term as managing partner had been scheduled to end in April 2015, and the firm had intended to begin the formal election process following the summer break.

The election process was brought forward in March when Devitt decided to stand down from the role a year before his tenure was due to end (17 March 2014).

He was first appointed as managing partner in 2009 and began his second term in January 2012 after an uncontested election (12 January 2012).

According to the firm, bringing the election forward will coincide with the end of its current five-year strategy, which is to April 2014. It will also avoid a drawn out hustings, while providing certainty over the managing partner for the next three years.

The news of Devitt’s decision to stand down came alongside confirmation of a series of internal reporting miscalculations, which led to misleading profit projections being circulated to partners at the half-year.

The first has led to a full review of the administration of Addleshaws’ partner remuneration system following an error in calculating the number of points which are used to distribute profit to partners. The mix-up will result in a lower than forecast pounds-per-point value at the end of 2013/14.

It is thought that the firm had calculated the value on the basis that there were 9,300 points in circulation, when the correct figure was 9,832.

A second error involved the establishment of the firm’s Hong Kong office, which was picked up at the half-year point but not before it had been circulated, meaning that the projected profit pool did not take account of that figure.

Finally, the firm has confirmed that it has decided to internally write off a relatively large success fee on the basis that it would be extremely difficult to collect.

Market sources said the written-off success fee was a proportion of the uplift due from Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky who died in March 2013, making the debt difficult to recover.

Devitt is the third senior management figure to leave his post in recent months. The firm’s longstanding financial director Martin Gaskin left in December and last month The Lawyer revealed that corporate managing partner Phillip Goodstone will leave to establish EY’s legal capability in the UK later this year (27 March 2014).