Leadership, structure and managing risk
We want to be the law firm that clients trust and want to work with above all others. We want to stand out because of our commitment to investing in our clients and empowering our teams, and because of the distinctive Linklaters mind-set. To do this we need to have strong leadership, robust structures for business and risk management.
Our Partnership Board (PB) is the firm's senior governance body and is responsible for strategic and other major decisions and making sure all partners are properly consulted. It is chaired by our Senior Partner and made up of a group of elected partners who represent the geographic and legal focus of the firm.
Our Executive Committee (ExCom) is chaired by our firmwide Managing Partner and is responsible to the PB for the sound management of the firm. It is responsible for key management decisions as well as for making recommendations to the PB. Its members include the senior leaders of the firm’s major regions and practices, along with the Chief Finance and Operations Officer and key business team directors. These members are appointed by the PB on the recommendation of the firmwide Managing Partner.
Our partners make the decisions that are core to our business. These include:
- electing the firm’s senior partner and firmwide Managing Partner
- electing new partners and laterally hired partners from other firms
- agreeing mergers and significant joint ventures
- opening and closing offices
- approving changes to the principles of profit sharing
- making changes to the Members’ Agreement
To help them make these decisions, the PB reviews proposals from ExCom. They then make recommendations to partners to help them decide how to vote. The PB members also have regular briefings with the partners in their constituencies.
Managing our risks
Our Risk team (a global team of in-house lawyers and advisers) supports partners and senior managers to ensure that the firm complies with applicable laws and professional rules and manages the risks associated with our legal practice (including new business risks, e.g. conflicts of interest, anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, sanctions and high growth market risks). The team also manages the firm's exposure to claims and complaints in the conduct of our practice.
National managing and local risk partners share responsibility for managing risks in the legal practice of each local office.
Business Teams directors share responsibility for managing business risks not directly related to the conduct of the firm’s legal practice. These include managing the firm’s financial stability, IT security, business continuity, safety and security, and wider operational risks, including dealing with suppliers.
Our approach to risk management is overseen by the firm’s Risk Committee, a subcommittee of ExCom that is chaired by our Director of Risk. The Risk Committee’s remit is to review the way in which the firm’s legal practice and operational risks are being managed. This includes information/data security; IT resilience; finance controls and tax strategy; business continuity; and people-related risks. The Risk Committee reports annually to the Audit Committee (a subcommittee of the PB). ExCom has primary responsibility for the firm’s strategic risks.
The Risk team works closely with the Risk Committee and senior managers across the firm to regularly identify and review the key risks facing the firm. The Risk team also maintains an ‘incidents register’ to track and report on incidents or risk trends.