Allen & Overy cultivates its garden

An equity partnership is like a shrub. Both need a bit of a tidy every now and then to clear out the dead wood, improve health and prevent falling branches.

Or maybe that last one only applies to trees.

Anyway, after two years of letting it all grow free, Allen & Overy (A&O) has once again picked up the secateurs and gone back to tending its partnership (see story).

The news came following inaccurate, but frankly reasonable-sounding, rumours that A&O was looking to downsize its partnership in the face of a bleak economic forecast. Managing partner Wim Dejonghe unequivocally denied the tittle-tattle, adding that the firm had merely returned to the standard practice of managing its equity with a careful bit of pruning.

The firm decided to take a break from managing its lockstep after a root-and-branch redundancy programme back in 2009. But such a cosseted approach to the partnership couldn’t last – that’s not the magic circle way.

Any budding partners uncomfortable with that kind of pressure can always up and leaf.