Longtime Patton Boggs managing partner Stuart Pape is planning to step down at the end of 2010, passing the job to current deputy managing partner Edward Newberry as the firm tinkers with the way the position is structured.

The firm’s executive committee is also making other changes. The managing partner’s compensation will no longer depend on maintaining a law practice, and the job will come with a five-year term — though a second term is possible if the partnership approves. Currently, there are no time limits on the job, which Pape has held since becoming the firm’s fourth managing partner in 1997. Department heads, too, will serve set terms. If approved by the partnership at the firm’s annual meeting in May, Newberry would begin his term in January 2011.

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