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Herbert Smith is carrying out a radical review of its management structure, which could see the senior partner role split into two.
The review coincides with the forthcoming management elections and the firm is considering the creation of a permanent managing partner who will share the responsibilities of the senior partner.
Herbert Smith scrapped the managing partner position in 1993 when Andrew Congreve retired. Former senior partner Edward Walker-Arnott decided to establish three positions underneath the senior partner title. But when Richard Bond was elected to the role in 2000, he briefly considered bringing back the managing partner role but decided against it.
One source said: “The creation of a managing partner role will dilute the responsibilities of the senior partner in theory, but they may not change in practice.”
Currently working under Bond are executive partner Iain Rothnie, practice partner Richard Fleck and Asian managing partner Tim Parkes.
Any new senior partner is expected to take office on 1 April 2005, following the elections in November, and will have the option to create a managing partner role.