Governance and profit share seem to be particular hot topics for law firms at present, with many reviewing whether their approaches are appropriate. Most are considering whether they are fair; whether they are in line with competitors/the market; whether they encourage the right behaviours; and whether they help to attract and retain the best people.
In this particular case, a mid-tier Scottish firm was reviewing their governance arrangements, how partners were advanced and how they were rewarded. Discussions had been held at partner meetings on these topics and it was proving difficult for an agreement to be reached.
This is not necessarily a surprise as it is incredibly difficult to change such arrangements – having sufficient numbers of partners to buy into and then sign off on such a move can take huge amounts of time and may not be achievable for some, and agreeing and then implementing the measures is not easy, especially where subjectivity may be required.
The firm had drafted plans on how they proposed to introduce new arrangements for each of governance and profit share. We were instructed to review those plans, provide critique and then meet with the management team to share our views verbally.
In some cases we are instructed to prepare reports covering our observations/undertake a process of questionnaires and interviews. That more in depth approach was not deemed necessary in this case, and so first rate advice based on our specialist knowledge of the legal sector market allowed the firm to sense check, tweak and finalise their plans in a cost effective manner.