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02/23/07

White & Case mulls management restructure
White & Case is contemplating to revamp its existing management structure to a three-tier model. The firm is finalizing the sweeping reforms it aims to implement across its global governance system. The move, as a firm partner states, is designed to make the firm work in a more corporate fashion, with more emphasis on the management. Meanwhile, the firm is looking for a suitable successor to step in as managing partner, after the present incumbent Duane Wall retires next year March.

The firm's partners in New York support the retention of full-time managing partners. However, reports suggest that the present management board with eight fee-earning lawyer members will be replaced. A new executive board comprising two to four members will be appointed as replacement. Their functioning will be supervised by the managing partner. The firm will appoint another management-type committee comprising fee-earning partners. This committee will help the executive board implement strategic decisions.

According to Wall, the reforms will include more than one person in full-time management. It also aims to bridge gaps between practice groups spread across its international offices. Meanwhile, the firm's four-member governance committee is finalizing details of the proposal based on the partner retreat debate held in Prague in January. The management boards' decision is expected next month, before it goes to vote asking for 85 percent of the equity partnership's approval, by April.

Debevoise registers steady growth financially
Joining the club of a few Wall Street firms who officially release financial figures, New York-based law firm Debevoise & Plimpton declared its 2006 financial results. The firm recorded a gradual upward trend in both its turnover and profit for 2005. This also marks the general healthy growth trend registered among the U.S. firms.

The 132-partner firm registered more than a seven percent rise in its turnover as well as profit per partner (PPP), to $575m and $1.806m, respectively. Though the firm's net profit grew more than 11 percent to $238m, its revenue per lawyer only rose by 2 percent, to $945,720. Most of the figures come from its M&A department which saw a successful year handling many important financial deals.

The few other New York firms to have announced their figures saw mixed growth. Firms such as Willkie Farr & Gallagher saw nearly 14 percent growth in turnover and partner profits; Dewey Ballantine registered a 4 percent turnover rise; and Shearman & Sterling registered only 1 percent growth in the last financial year.

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