A&O appoints associate to global management team

Allen & Overy (A&O) has appointed an associate to its global management team as part of its ongoing associate retention scheme.

Employment associate Penny Caven will join the firm’s management team, which is made up of key practice heads, international heads and support-function heads.

Caven said: “I’m not there to champion a particular issue but to say: ‘If you’re thinking about this, have you considered how associates may be affected?’”

The management team is separate from A&O’s board, which votes on broad strategy. Caven will be the first associate nominee to attend the weekly management meetings, which implement the board’s strategy.

Managing partner David Morley said: “The associates are at the front line and it was important to us to factor in views from the front line.”

But a management e-mail to associates stressed that Caven would “not be present to ‘represent’ the associate body.” A&O associates have no formal representation but each department has a forum where ideas or grievances can be aired. Caven said she would liaise with the fora.

The move comes after she was voted in at the first senior associates’ conference, itself part of an emergency strategy to stem the flow of associates leaving. In 2005, A&O suffered an associate attrition rate of 25 per cent.