Addleshaw Goddard has drastically reduced the number of hurdles that lawyers have to jump before becoming partner as part of a wider scheme to streamline management at the firm.
The six lawyers who were made up to partner at Addleshaw Goddard this year (27 March 2012) only had to give one set of presentations to management as opposed to the usual three following changes to promotions process.
Before the switch aspiring partners would after developing their business case with a sponsor partner, make a presentation to their practice group’s divisional committee. This would be followed by another presentation to the firm’s leadership team and then, following a successful recommendation, a final presentation to the firm’s board.
Now lawyers that want to become partners only have to make one presentation to the promotions committee, which is a subdivision of the board.
The changes are part of a wider plan at Addleshaws to streamline management in the wake of disappointing financial results in the 2010-11 financial year (24 May 2011). In June 2011 (22 June 2011) the firm created a unitary board, which absorbed the governance board and executive leadership team in a bid to reduce the number partners in management roles.
“We’ve cut unnecessary duplication and I think it’s helped not have so many people focusing on management,” said senior partner Monica Burch. “It’s led to us making decisions more quickly. We could be really bureaucratic but now, without wanting to sound glib, we’re much more agile.
“We don’t have two sets of committees any more and can be more responsive to opportunities and to market conditions. Those sitting on the single unitary board say it’s better and partners have said that it feels more business-like.”
Also, in May 2011, The Lawyer reported that the firm was mooting switching from a partial lockstep to a merit-based system but partners rejected the idea (23 May 2011). Burch said management hasd stopped pushing for the structural reforms, adding that the firm had tried to make the remuneration system more fluid and had reduced the number of partners on the remuneration committee from four to two.