Freshfields to ditch all-equity model

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s partners have voted in favour of ditching the magic circle firm’s cherished all-equity partnership model.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (28 June), the voting concluded last week, with the majority of Freshfields’ partners voting in favour of giving the firm the option to introduce fixed-share partners.

Freshfields’ partnership council approved the plans to create fixed-share partners in May after consulting with partners and following its decision to introduce salaried partners in the Far East earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, last month Freshfields’ Italian managing partner Raffaelle Lener called on the firm to ditch the all- equity model after a five-lawyer team quit its Rome office.

Freshfields is the only magic circle firm that still has an all-equity partnership.

Commenting on the move, Freshfields co-senior partner Guy Morton said: “We’re pleased we’ve been able to agree an important evolutionary change.

“We believe that the ability to offer [fixed-share partners] will give the firm additional flexibility to help it provide our clients with the range, depth and spread of services that they require, while ensuring that our financial performance remains sufficiently profitable to continue attracting the very best people.”

Freshfields will now flesh out the mechanics of the proposal, including the possibility of de-equitising existing equity partners.