White & Case is to overhaul its management structure and identify a successor to managing partner Duane Wall in a sweeping shake-up of the firm’s governance.
Wall, who has held the role of managing partner since 1 April 2000, will stand down at the end of his term in March 2008 in accordance with the firm’s partnership agreement.
Wall told The Lawyer: “We probably need more than one person devoted full time to the management of the firm, or we need several people who are at least expected to devote a certain percentage of their time.”
In the lead-up to the change, the firm has begun a consultation with its partnership to expand its management structure in line with its recent growth. It will also review the election process for Wall’s successor.
Wall said the firm was considering a raft of changes, including whether to introduce a senior partner role, a two-tier management board, an extended network of regional management and/or the introduction of a non-lawyer into a management position.
White & Case currently operates an eight-member management board, overseen by the managing partner. But Wall said there were concerns within the partnership that this was not sufficient for a 1,900-lawyer firm with 37 offices across 26 countries.
Any changes to the management would require the approval of 85 per cent of the firm’s equity partners.
Any approved changes would be introduced by 1 April next year.
The last time White & Case overhauled its governance structure was in 2000. At the time, the firm replaced its four-member management committee with the current eight-seat management board.