Legal Business Blogs

End of an era for Travers as Reed to succeed Patient as managing partner

David Patient is to hand the Travers Smith managing partner baton to private equity partner Edmund Reed, the firm announced this morning (16 November).

Reed, a partner in Travers’ private equity and financial sponsors group and member of the firm’s partnership board since 2013, will assume the role on 1 July 2021.

The popularity of Patient (pictured), who was originally elected to the helm in January 2015 to succeed Andrew Lilley  was marked in 2018 when he stood unopposed to be elected for a second three-year term .

His successor Reed joined Travers in 1994 becoming a partner in 2005 and, between 2000 and 2004, he was an investment manager at Phoenix Equity Partners. He is credited with playing an active part in the management of the firm and the development of Travers Smith’s business strategy, alongside his M&A experience with a focus on private equity and real estate deals.

His clients include private equity firms Phoenix Equity Partners, Inflexion and Patron Capital, and large corporates including Ascential Group and Foster + Partners.

But for the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, Patient has steered the firm through six years of revenue growth and has been instrumental in refocusing the professionalism of the firm without sacrificing its much-prized culture.

Patient and former senior partner Chris Hale were also the forces behind the firm’s highly successful Paris office as a route to more English law work on the continent for UK private equity clients and to build a referral network.

Travers had enjoyed nine consecutive years of revenue growth, with the tenth marred by the impact of having a reporting period running to the end of June rather than April, meaning greater exposure than most peers to the pandemic downturn. This resulted in a 1% revenue dip to £160.9m, 11% slump in net profit and 19% fall in profit per equity partner (PEP) to £1m.

Senior partner Kathleen Russ said: ‘Edmund is an outstanding strategist, who combines a deep understanding of the benefits of the firm’s independence, culture and ethos with innovative thinking and a highly commercial perspective. This is a period of transformation for the legal industry and with those challenges come opportunities. I very much look forward to working alongside Edmund as we move into a period of innovation and evolution and as we embrace these developments to build on the firm’s current success and reputation in the market.’

Russ also commended Patient for his ‘thoughtful leadership’ of the firm through the coronavirus pandemic.

Patient said: I would like to congratulate Edmund on his appointment as our next managing partner. With his in-depth knowledge of Travers Smith, business acumen and diversity of experience he has all the qualities to make an outstanding managing partner. I am extremely pleased to see him take up this key leadership role in the firm.’

Reed added: ‘Travers Smith is a vibrant and dynamic firm, with fantastic clients and a terrific team of highly skilled lawyers and business services professionals. Over the last few years, under David’s leadership, we have built an outstanding business focused on our market-leading capability in asset management, M&A and disputes.

‘I am also proud of the way that the firm looks after its people, not just through the current pandemic, but in the wider sense including the significant progress we are making on diversity and inclusion.’

For more on Travers Smith’s success under David Patient, read ‘Defying gravity – Inside the improbable rise of Travers and Macfarlanes’ (£)