Voices & Choices

United Kingdom law firm using ranked choice voting to select new senior partner

United Kingdom law firm using ranked choice voting to select new senior partner

In a move that demonstrates ranked choice voting’s capacity to enhance decision making in the private sector, DLA Piper, the biggest law firm in the United Kingdom, will use RCV to select its next senior partner. The $2.5 billion firm wrapped up its first round of voting last Friday (Jan. 26) and has announced its three finalists for the coveted position.

Andrew Darwin, Bob Bishop, and Jon Hayes are all set to compete in the second round of voting over the next week with the winner set to be announced on Monday, Feb. 12. This is the first vote DLA Piper has held to choose a senior partner in over a decade; The last occurred in 2006.

In the first round of voting, DLA Piper used a single transferable voting method (also known as multi-winner RCV) to select the three finalists from a field of eight original candidates. In the next and final round, the firm will use the instant runoff vote method (single winner RCV) to select a single winner from the three remaining candidates. This ensures the winning candidate will amass support from a majority of the voters.

DLA Piper’s decision to use RCV is a microcosm of the current and potential applications of ranked choice voting throughout Europe and other western democracies. The Kingdom of Scotland employs RCV to elect local councils; Northern Ireland uses RCV in National Assembly, European, and local elections; and Republic of Ireland employs RCV in parliamentary, European, and local elections.

Here in the United States, RCV is used by more than 60 universities, 13 cities, and the state of Maine. RCV’s application at DLA Piper showcases its versatility as a method for making responsible and efficient decisions in private as well as public contexts.


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