Clifford Chance is rolling out its partner appraisal programme, marking the first time in its history that the firm has put a formal assessment process in place.
The move, voted through last year, means that all partners will now be assessed at a local level, ie within their own practice areas by their peers.
The system is in stark contrast to a mooted plan for partner assessments suggested by Clifford Chance’s former management, chairman Keith Clark and chief executive Michael Bray, at a weekend strategy conference held back in March 2001.
At the time, Bray and Clark’s proposal that partners be reviewed by a select group of senior partners was met with widespread opposition due to concerns that the process would be politicised.
The subsequent management team, led by managing partner Peter Cornell, has opted for a less hierarchical approach.
It is understood that, at this stage, the programme is geared towards supporting partners and targeting areas of improvement, rather than being used simply as a means of ridding the firm of underperformers.