The Future of Law Firms? No More Managing Partners…

Interesting report in the Lawyer yesterday about Ashurst deciding to do away with the concept of a managing partner in Australia

Here’s the piece

Ashurst’s Australia managing partner John Carrington retires today (31 October), after six years as head of legacy Blake Dawson.

Following his retirement, Ashurst is set to scrap its Australia managing partner position, with the responsibilities being shared among a number of partners in the jurisdiction.

Ashurst’s managing partner James Collis said: “Given John’s decision earlier this year to retire, and the exceptional way the firm as a whole has embraced the divisional structure, I came to the decision that the responsibilities of the position could effectively be shared amongst senior Australia-based partners.”

Ashurst said that its legacy Blake Dawson arm in Australia will retain a “high level” of involvement, with four resident partners on the firm’s executive committee – corporate co-head Phil Breden, energy co-head Geoff Gishubl, finance co-head Paul Jenkins and global disputes head Lisa Ritson. Australia also accounts for four of Ashurst’s 14 board members, with vice-chairman Mary Padbury, competition partner Peter Armitage, corporate partner Roger Davies and employment partner Jennie Mansfield hoping spots.

Collis added: “This strong Australian presence has made it easy to re-distribute leadership responsibilities, including representation of the firm with clients and the market more broadly, across a larger group of people.”

Most of the firm’s offices, including its Australian bases, also have their own managing partners.

Carrington worked at Blake Dawson since it was formed through a four-way Asia Pacific merger in 1988. He was appointed as managing partner in 2008, and led the firm’s tie-up discussions with Ashurst alongside chairman Padbury from 2011.

Collis praised Carrington for his “extraordinary contribution to the firm, its people and our clients over many years”. He said: “He presided over a major transformation of our practice in Australia which demanded a considerable degree of vision and courage.”