Linklaters partners have backed management proposals for new structures to be set up in response to the dismantling of Linklaters & Alliance following mergers in Germany, Sweden and an agreement in principle to merge in Belgium.
The new proposals were put to partners at a firm-wide retreat held in the Docklands last month.
The old strategic management structure of Linklaters & Alliance, known as the international policy committee (IPC) will be abandoned.
A new international governance board, including elected members from around the partnership and an executive management team including global practice heads and regional managing partners, will be set up in time for the start of Linklaters' next financial year, beginning April 2002. Elections and appointments will take place in the New Year.
German managing partner Markus Hartung said that part of the aim is to enable partners to get more involved in major decision making. “What we're trying to do is to strengthen the ownership of partners, and the feeling that managers are not working on a remote planet,” he said.
In the meantime, the IPC will continue to function and is expected to be joined by a Belgian member in January.
Senior partner Anthony Cann said that the recent mergers with Oppenhoff & Rädler and Lagerlöf & Leman have resulted in the board becoming far too large. “It means we need to rehash it,” he said. “We'll end up with a governance board, a board on top [of that] with elected partners and a managing and senior partner.”
“What we're trying to do is to strengthen the ownership of partners, and the feeling that managers are not working on a remote planet”
Markus Hartung, Linklaters
From the UK, the board comprises senior partner Cann, managing partner Tony Angel, director of finance Nick Heywood-Waddington, four practice area heads and three elected partners. From Continental Europe, it includes four German partners, one Swedish partner, and one French partner. Head of Asia Andrew Roberts and a partner from the US also sit on the body.
Cann said that representation would be broadly commensurate with partner numbers in different jurisdictions. This is with the exception of a few offices which are not large enough to justify their own representation. “After a period we will abandon particular constituencies,” he said.
If a merger is agreed with De Brauw Blackstone & Westbroek in the Nether-lands, the Dutch will also be included in the new structures. If not, they will be in a similar position to Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners in Italy and are likely to be invited to participate in some meetings.