Freshfields overhauls management to do away with conflicts

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has revamped its management in an attempt to manage conflicts of interest.

The firm has implemented global industry sector heads, who for the first time will attend biannual committee meetings with their practice group counterparts.

Joint senior partner Konstantin Mettenheimer told The Lawyer: “This all came from the feeling of how we can serve our clients better. But where we have to be careful is conflicts. We have to be smarter than to just wait to get what comes through the door.”

The magic circle firm implemented sector heads in 2000, but an ongoing client review has led to the firmwide upheaval.

There are now 12 sector groups. Four new appointments were made because incumbents’ three-year terms had run out.

“Sector heads who know their industries inside out, know their clients’ business and know their clients’ competition can manage conflicts better,” Mettenheimer told The Lawyer.

Freshfields corporate head Tim Jones and consultant Barry O’Brien are facing a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal following the row over a conflict of interest when the firm was instructed by Philip Green on his 2004 bid for Marks & Spencer.