The endurance of the partnership model as the structure of choice for professional practices is frequently credited to the idea that partnerships engender and promote a collegiate and collaborative culture, with all partners acting as owners who are responsible for driving the success of the firm. On the flip side, partnerships are often criticised for being slow to implement change (changes forced by a global pandemic notwithstanding!) as significant decisions regarding a firm’s strategy, structure, partner remuneration model, governance and constitution frequently require the support of a critical mass of partners; not only to satisfy constitutional approval requirements, but also because unless there is broad partner support for any proposed changes, attempts to push through such decisions (even if it is ultimately unsuccessful) can cause partner disaffection and have a destabilising effect on the firm. As a result, ‘difficult’ (but often necessary) proposals are sometimes diluted or kicked down the road by management.
In this interactive Zoominar and Q&A, our panel of partnership law and strategy /management experts will be joined by the Chairman of Shoosmiths LLP, a firm that has recently implemented significant changes to its partnership and constitution. The panel will share their commercial, legal and practical advice and experience on managing and implementing changes in strategy, remuneration and governance in professional practices.
- Why change? Identifying the “problem” and the right solution; what are the benefits of changing and risks of maintaining the status quo?
- Dealing with the practical challenges of leading a firm through transformational change.
- Common constitutional hurdles and how to navigate them.
- Securing and sustaining partner buy-in and approval and avoiding unlawful discrimination.
- Managing dissenting partners.
Time: 9:00 am – 10:00 am GMT
About the Speakers
Sarah Chilton is a Partner at CM Murray LLP specialising in Partnership and Employment Law and leads the contentious partnership practice at the firm. Sarah advises professional services firms, including many law firms, on a wide range of partnership and employment issues. She has particular expertise in relation to partner conduct issues, investigations, discrimination and whistleblowing, contentious exits and partnership dissolutions, as well as partner restrictive covenant and team move issues, and associated disputes.
Peter Duff is the Chairman of Shoosmiths LLP. His role is to lead the firm’s partnership in the delivery of its strategic vision, to be the UK’s leading law firm, famous for its client experience. What clients want from their law firms is changing and Peter’s role is to ensure that this is mirrored precisely in the way that the firm’s legal teams are developed and supported, whilst sustaining its strong and distinctive culture. This includes ensuring the partnership structure and governance supports this ambition, which led to the significant overhaul of the Firm’s LLP Agreement last year.
Zulon Begum is a Partner at CM Murray LLP specialising in Partnership and Corporate Law and leads the non-contentious partnership practice at the firm. Zulon has extensive experience of advising professional and financial services firms and senior equity partners on a range of partnership and corporate matters. She has particular expertise in M&A, structuring and partnership governance and constitutional matters and has advised a number of firms on changes to their partnership and remuneration structures and review of their partnership agreements and partner policies.
Robert Millard is Founder and Director of the Cambridge Strategy Group, a management consultancy that specialises in advising professional services firms. His particular practice focus lies at the intersection of strategy and digitalisation-induced business model transformation. Rob is currently in the final stages of a ground-breaking doctoral research project on value creation in large law firm mergers.