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Do law firms need one management board or two?

By Guy Vincent, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell

20 June 2013

We all know that the profession has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. This has been reflected in the governance and management structures adopted by firms. Many firms now have fewer partner meetings, so the partners want to see a management structure in place that combines checks with balances, including management accountability. who ?watches the watchmen?)

The most common models adopted have been either a single board or two boards. The two-board system would normally be an executive board and a board representing the interests of the partners because, if there are fewer partner meetings, the feeling develops that a representative board is needed to monitor the management board.

One way of looking at this two-board model is that, in a corporate sense, one is composed of executive directors and the other of non-executive directors. The advantage of the two-board model is that it produces two boards with different responsibilities, but interlinkin...

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