Jones Day has just demoted at least two of its London partners to counsel. Both partners – RoF is sparing their blushes and not naming them – are senior and widely regarded. Insiders say that the decision was made by Steve Brogan, the firm’s Managing Partner in Washington, and that John Phillips, the partner in charge of London, was unable to protect them.
Not for the first time. Insiders say that the firm's London management is entirely under the thumb of its American paymasters and generally about as effective as a one-armed monkey. The office saw the demotions of at least four of its partners in 2016, at least three in 2013 and at least five in 2009. These are only the numbers of which RoF is aware – the actual figure could be much higher. At the most charitable that runs to 14 demotions at an office that currently numbers just 62 partners.
Most firms manage their equity and are able to reduce their partners’ remuneration. But they don’t choose to humiliate them into the bargain. There’s no reason why the former Jones Day partners could not have taken a pay cut and remained on the letterhead without having to hand in their business cards, change their email signatures and be embarrassed in front of their families, colleagues, clients and friends.
Or maybe there is a reason, but as ever Jones Day refused to comment so the firm’s rationale remains shrouded in mystery.
A large number of bitchy comments today. And some sour grapes from Comedy Carmedy (whose name is not too far from a former head of JD London office...). A few points: (i) JD is business and given that all law firms use PEP as a metric of performance, what they have done is not suprising; (ii) John Philiips has done an excellent job in managing the London office after the sudden exit of the previous incumbent (see above); and (iii) it's a bloody good firm. I instruct the firm regularly (over the past 20 years!) and I have found them nothing but excellent.
I’m in two minds about this. There’s a certain irony in ROF running this article next to one about firms where non-performing partners are bed-blocking associates from partnership and slagging off this, which seems like one way to manage it. At least partners there know that it’s perform or step down. At the same time, doesn’t seem to create a particularly stable environment for clients. And to anon above, if you’d checked the PSC register (which I did seeing your comment) you’d know they aren’t on there - no LLP, just an unlimited liability partnership. Which these two partners are now out from under. That would probably make me actually grateful for the step down!
I know the three individuals concerned, and one was probably "superannuated" and due to be put out to grass, but the other two were a surprise. However Brogan has some previous of drawing a lazy ruler under recent performance figures or playing "hunt the c*nt" using demotion of someone as a scapegoat when a professional indemnity issue arises. The partnership "at will" (essentially on the whim of the global managing partner) is the Jones Day way - have a nice day!