Grapevine

It’s like the senate of ancient Rome round at Denton Wilde
Sapte (DWS) at the moment.

It’s not clear yet who is Brutus in this equation, but the
knives have been out for incumbent managing partner
Virginia Glastonbury for some time.

Her decision…


It’s like the senate of ancient Rome round at Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) at the moment.

It’s not clear yet who is Brutus in this equation, but the knives have been out for incumbent managing partner Virginia Glastonbury for some time.

Her decision not to stand in this year’s elections, announced to the board last week and the partnership on Monday (11 October), came as no surprise, even to her supporters.

The alternative was death by a thousands cuts.

Glastonbury has had a tough 18 months presiding over the firm’s decision to ditch its Asian network and the European best friends alliance.

Not to mention the defection of the firm’s entire technology, media and telecoms (TMT) practice, mainly from the former Denton Hall side of the firm, to DLA, as exclusively revealed by Thelawyer.com/breaking news (28 September).

Worse still, the mass exit had been on the cards for six months, and yet it appeared to take the management by surprise.

But should Glastonbury shoulder all the blame for all that has happened?

It’s a poorly kept secret that she and senior partner James Dallas have, shall we say, their differences.

But little criticism has been levelled at Dallas, who seems to have acquired a Blair-like skill for self-preservation. Plus, like Blair, he potentially has until 2006 to turn things around before his own re-election.

All eyes are now on Glastonbury’s replacement. One strong candidate, who may not have chosen to stand against Glastonbury, is corporate partner Richard Macklin, while another obvious bet is head of finance Howard Morris.

However, one further name that has been touted is Martin Kitchen, who is thought to be close to Dallas.

But here the plot thickens.

Kitchen is a non-executive member of the board and part of the consultation committee, which is supposed to reviewing the management structure and considering what sort of person would make a good managing partner.

Wouldn’t there be a conflict of interest if he did stand?

Whatever transpires, DWS needs to stem the bloodletting right now. The seeping tide of politics is already threatening to engulf the firm, which would be best served by concentrating on its business.