Portugal’s PLMJ rejigs partnership and governance structure

Portuguese firm PLMJ has introduced several changes to its structure designed to strengthen its leadership and define strategic direction for the next three years, including scrapping the position of salaried partner.

At a general partners meeting last week the firm voted to end the distinction between equity partners and salaried – or ‘industry’ – partners and adjusted its governance model.

In 2011, according to The Lawyer’s European 100 survey, PLMJ had 20 salaried partners and 19 equity partners.

The firm is the second Iberian outfit this year to switch to an all-equity model. In March (26 March 2012) Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira announced it was bringing all its partners into the equity. Cuatrecasas later confirmed (23 July 2012) that a number of non-equity partners had been put on notice to improve their performance.

At the PLMJ meeting co-managing partner Manuel Santos Vitor was elected as sole managing partner for a three-year term. He will be supported by an enlarged non-executive board led by former co-managing partner Luís Sáragga Leal together with partners José Miguel Júdice, Nuno Líbano Monteiro, Jorge Brito Pereira and Tomás Pessanha.

Santos Vitor said in a statement that he had “absolute confidence” the firm would overcome the challenges it faced in a difficult market.

He added that the move to an all-equity structure was meant to better reflect the risk and responsibilities of the partnership.

“Since industry partners were also sharing the risk as much as equity partners we decided that this distinction did not work in relation to how we operate, so we decided this was the best step to take,” he said.

PLMJ also announced that it is introducing an international career development programme for lawyers working at firms in its international network, which includes Angola and Mozambique. The firm has standardised objectives focusing on career progression for its international lawyers.

Mozambican partner Tomás Timbane from GLM – Gabinete Legal Moçambique was elected as PLMJ international partner.