Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners have voted through sweeping changes to the firm’s constitution that will make it much easier to remove underperforming partners

Partners voted in favour of the changes in an email vote on 18 February following a consultation period that began last November.

The magic circle firm drew up plans last year to slim down the partnership council from 20 members to 15, as revealed by The Law-yer (29 November 2004).

Hand-in-hand with that went a proposal to centralise the process for sacking weaker partners. The firm now no longer requires a 75 per cent partnership vote to eject underperformers – the power to de-equitise has been delegated to the new-look partnership council.

Freshfields has made administrative changes, too, including the abolition of the defunct Anglo-German partner exchange system. The firm has also decided that partners will no longer be able to sit on both the partnership council and the practice head committee.