Addleshaw Goddard partner Monica Burch has ditched the chairman title for that of senior partner because she felt the previous designation confused people.
Litigator Burch became chairman in May after a three-way contested election. But despite being one of only two female law firm ’chairmen’ in the top 30, Burch opted for the title over that of either ’chairwoman’ or ’chair’ in the belief that is was less clunky.
Seven months into the role, however, she has decided to switch to the senior partner tag while retaining exactly the same responsibilities.
“There’s no structural change to the role [as a result of the name change],but people get confused about what chairman means. People know what senior partner is,” she commented.
She added that there was “no gender element” to the confusion, but that it was rather a question of a misunderstanding of what the chairman role, which combined the ambassadorial functions traditionally associated with senior partner and the oversight duties of a corporate chairman, actually involved.
The firm’s previous senior partner was Paul Lee. On stepping down from the managing partner position in 2009 Mark Jones became chairman. He subsequently got rid of that title in order to emphasise the impartiality of the professional practices business arm he runs at the firm.