A south-east firm has said its move to an all-equity partnership model will create an environment where staff can work at their best. 

Moore Blatch, which has four offices across the region, has transitioned from having 22 equity partners and a further 27 ‘salaried’, to 47 members who become full business partners in the firm. Each has invested capital in return for a true share of annual profits.  

The firm has created a partnership board comprising a small group partners who will be responsible for the overall governance of the firm, with managing partner Ed Whittington given delegated responsibility for making day-to-day decisions. 

Ed Whittington

Whittington: more flexible

Whittington said: ‘This new structure aims to speed up decision-making for the partnership, ensuring we are more flexible and agile for the future and better able to respond to business requirements.  

‘Bringing together the whole partnership group will ensure the firm is run in the best and most sustainable way possible. It also frees up partners so they can focus on running their divisions.’ 

He added the new structure ensures staff have a ‘shared interest’ in the firm’s success. 

In the year to 30 April 2018, the most recently-published financial results, the firm reported that operating expenses had increased by £4m year on year due to a move to larger premises for the Southampton offices, the cost of a merger and the general growth in trading levels and activities. In 2017, the firm acquired 100% of the shares of Calvert Smith and Sutcliffe Limited, and it also hold 50% of the shares in Aspire Law, a joint venture with spinal injuries charity Aspire. 

Group turnover rose 17% during the year to £22.2m, but operating profit fell 12% to £3.8m. 

While Moore Blatch has moved to an all-equity partnership, less than a week ago City-headquartered practice RPC moved away from the same arrangement to offer its lawyers five options for careers at the firm. This can include being a full equity partner, fixed share equity partner, salaried partner, of counsel or senior associate.  

Managing partner James Miller said the new roles reflect the changing expectations of its people, the market and client demand. Staff will still be expected and encouraged to aspire to full equity partnership, but it is more likely they will first enter the partnership either at salaried or fixed share level.  

‘Like every business we evolve, and the market around us evolves, too,’ said Miller. ‘Our all-equity structure has served us very well, but we know that the bar to achieving partnership here has been seen as very high.  

‘High standards are a good thing, of course, and that won’t change, but we saw the need to offer our people alternative career destinations with titles that reflect their seniority and value.'