Simmons & Simmons has changed its election process in the run-up to the battle for the managing partner post.
The firm has introduced a nominations committee which well-placed sources say is intended to encourage candidates from Simmons’ international network who might otherwise not stand.
The composition of the committee has not yet been decided, but it is expected that it will be comprised of members of the existing management team and board.
A self-nomination process will run alongside the committee, so anyone who wishes to stand can do so.
The incumbent managing partner David Dickinson will step down in early April, but a final vote to find his replacement is expected within the next two months, according to sources at the firm.
It is expected that the committee will be used for all future management elections. The incumbent senior partner Janet Gaymer is due to step down in 2006.
The firm has also decided to split its competition and IP departments and has appointed Tony Woodgate as head of competition and Richard Binns as head of IP.