Oppenhoffs considers top level restructure

Linklaters & Alliance's German firm Oppenhoff & Radler is to vote this week on a major restructuring plan, in an effort to streamline its management and “come closer” to its Alliance partners.

The firm will make a decision whether to move to a single managing partner on 15 May, when its 116 partners meet at their six-monthly meeting. Currently, the firm operates under the “gischaeftsfuehrungsausschuss” system, where five head partners are each responsible for one area, such as personnel.

Ulrich Horstschaefer, Oppenhoffs' PR manager, says appointing a single manager will release the other four to concentrate on fee earning and bring the Alliance firms “closer to each other”.

“This is the most modern and efficient structure you can find all over the world and we will come [nearer] to full merger [and] build up similar structures in all our law firms.”

But Oppenhoffs' move does not signal restructuring throughout the Alliance. In Belgium, Alliance partner De Bandt, van Hecke & Lagae has a four-person rotating management committee, where partners continue to practise law and share the daily running of the firm.

“It's flexible, it's nice,” says partner and committee member Francois De Bauw. “We don't plan change at all.”