Herbies in U-turn over managing partner role

Herbert Smith senior partner David Gold has overturned ;an
earlier management decision and installed ;a ;managing partner at the firm.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (14 March), corporate partner David Willis has been appointed to the role. Shortly after becoming senior partner in 2004, Gold mooted the prospect of creating a managing partner role at the firm, but decided to go with an executive committee instead (The Lawyer, 14 February 2005).

Speaking this week Gold said: “Herbert Smith is a bigger, more international and more complex organisation than it was when I became senior partner three years ago. It is essential we have a management structure that reflects these factors, the priority we’re giving to international growth and the opportunities and challenges we face from the current period of economic uncertainty.”

Willis, whose tenure will initially last two years, is to chair Herbert Smith’s executive committee, which counts chief operating officer Norman Green, chief financial operater John Mullens and practice area heads among its ranks.

Willis said: “The main element of my role is the implementation of our strategic ;objectives. ;A significant component of that will be international.”

The bulk of Willis’ time will be taken up travelling between offices on management duties but he said he hopes to continue with a degree of client-facing work.

“I hope to stay involved with client relationships but my days of being able to handle full-on corporate transactions are past,” he said. “I’ll be involved at the strategic level with clients.”

Willis has acted for London and Continental Railways and has also advised the Government on issues such as the restructuring of British Nuclear Fuels.