FFW to overhaul board as Europe remit grows

Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has launched a constitutional review to revamp its members’ agreement and reflect its growing European footprint.

Gilmour: taking European offices into account
Gilmour: taking European offices into account

The London-headquartered firm opened offices in Düsseldorf and Munich on 1 March, adding to its ­existing network in Paris, Brussels and Hamburg. Managing partner Moira Gilmour said the time was right to reassess the way the management board and committees were structured.

“Our members’ agreement as an LLP is the old FFW partnership agreement, and in Europe we have to graft on to our agreements the points about our European capability,” she said. “We want an agreement that has our European offices integrated.”

Gilmour chairs the firm’s management board, which includes six elected practice chairs: head of IP/IT Mark Abell; head of regulatory Matthew Lohn; head of real estate Antony Phillips; head of corporate Andrew ­Blankfield; head of ­litigation Paul McNeil; and Continental board member Eric Cusas, who is managing partner of the Brussels office. A non-lawyer ­partnership secretary also sits on the board.

“We’re looking at whether the board should be bigger or smaller, whether it should have partners included across the firm and whether it should include non-­executives,” explained Gilmour. “We’re also looking at membership of committees, whether we need them, how they’re constructed and how they’re run.”

Gilmour plans to present new constitutional proposals during the firm’s partner conference in November. She is set to implement the changes in May 2012.

“It’s a way of kick-starting a new era,” she said. “The Continental board member’s a bit of an afterthought; and I’d like a more holistic approach to the board.”