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Clifford Chance is planning to cut the membership of its partnership council by 40 per cent as part of a radical shake-up of its management structure.
The change would see the current 12-member elected council reduced to seven, with members being elected on a less geographical basis, removing the need for a fixed number of partners to represent each jurisdiction.
There would also be a reduction in the frequency of management committee meetings.
The council, which includes senior partner Stuart Popham (pictured top), acts as an oversight committee focusing on the management of partnership affairs.
It is not anticipated that the 16-strong management committee, which is responsible for wider strategic issues, will be downsized.
Discussion papers, distributed to partners worldwide, are to be collated at the end of this month, after which senior management will consider changes to the firm’s governance.
Other issues under consideration include a shortening of the warning period for partners undergoing performance reviews and the potential removal of partners’ right to appeal termination notices.
The proposed changes come after a consultation held last year that saw partners agreed to allow management to cut up to 15 per cent of the firm’s global partner headcount.
Comments at the time are understood to have highlighted what was perceived to be a top-heavy management structure. The current review, which is focused on slimming down management, is a reaction to such comments.
“The whole series of steps are inter-related,” commented Popham. “It’s still a discussion rather than formal proposals.”
Managing partner David Childs (pictured right), who will begin a second term at the head of the firm in May, is thought to have put the tightening up of management at the centre of his re-election campaign last autumn.