Herbies poised to reappoint managing partner

Herbert Smith managing partner David Willis looks set to stand unopposed for a second term.

The deadline for nominations closes this week and, as of last Friday (24 September), no challengers had come forward.

Sources at the firm say it is highly unlikely any rival candidates will throw their hats into the ring, making Willis’s election a formality. His appointment for another two-year term will be rubber-stamped by the partnership in mid-October.

Willis became Herbert Smith’s first managing partner in 2008 following a review of the firm’s management structure by the then senior partner David Gold, who recommended Willis for the role. This nomination was backed through an election in which Willis stood unopposed.

His primary role is to chair the firm’s executive committee and implement strategy, while senior partner Jonathan Scott is responsible for the LLP council.

Willis was originally meant to be up for re-election in March 2010, coinciding with elections for the senior partner role, but the firm decided to extend his tenure until 30 April 2011 to avoid holding two elections at the same time.

Before becoming managing partner, Willis was head of the firm’s Asia practice between 1997 and 2001 and later headed its financial institutions practice.

A source familiar with the situation said: “The general perception is that Willis has done a good job and his re-election is seen as a formality. Nobody can really believe that just three years ago we didn’t have a managing ­partner.”