Clifford Chance is trying to change its constitution to make it easier to sack under-performing partners. Guess what the next step in the plan will be.

The firm dumped handfuls of associates just a few weeks back, and is now - according to The Lawyer - looking to remove the period of grace that partners are currently entitled to before being kicked out. Under the current, slightly murky, system non-productive partners (i.e. those not billing eight hours every day to the detriment of their social and sexual lives) are given a stay of execution improvement period of between nine and 12 months. Those that up their billing may be allowed to stay on - those that don't get a 14 day termination notice.

Under the new proposals however, it seems some partners will just get 3 months' notice. Brass tacks, it means CC can get unwanted partners out the door a lot quicker. Which may be sensible as other lawyers tend to find the sight of unmotivated yet highly-paid partners spending a year improving their front crawl in the firm's otherwise-untouched swimming pool galling.

    A partner improving. What it won't look like anymore.

In a statement, the firm said "we are consulting with partners on possible changes to how partner performance is managed to bring the firm into line with best practice elsewhere in the industry". Oh right, sorry, so not just getting ready to kick out a load of partners. No way at all.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 11 May 12 12:17

It is incredible that firms choose to sack associates before getting rid of underperforming partners. Law is a simple business - win it, do it, bill it. Associates are "doing it" and as seniority increases, billing it. Those at the senior end are winning some of it, doing all of it and billing it. Why keep the partners if the revenue isn't coming in? On the other side of the balance sheet, a partner is a more expensive overhead.

If law firms want to be respected as businesses, they really need to grasp fundamentals.