Clifford Chance is adopting a UK corporate-style structure by electing a governing board to oversee the decisions of its executive committee.
The board’s first members will be partners elected from the three firms
merging to form the new conglomerate. But the merger document leaves room
for captains of industry and other outsiders to join the board.
Elections to the board will take place in the next two to three weeks.
Clifford Chance will elect three partners and Rogers & Wells two. It is not
known how many members German firm Punder Volhard Weber & Axster will
elect, as the vote on the firm’s merger with Clifford Chance has not yet
Arrangements are still to be finalised, but the board will sit for three
or four years. After that time, individual firms will lose their allotted
places in a free-for-all vote.
The arrangement may go some way towards appeasing Clifford Chance partners
who are reported to be disgruntled over the lack of consultation so far.
Partners are said to be unhappy that the five global practice heads were
imposed on them from above.
Last week Clifford Chance senior partner Keith Clark, Rogers & Wells
managing partner Larry Cranch and Punders founding partner Dolf Weber were
drumming up business in New York.
“The three of us had a series of meetings with the major financial
institutions in the world at their headquarters,” says Cranch. “The reason
for this merger is client focused, and we are very gratified to have got
the kind of response we received this week from them.”