Legal Business Blogs

Former Ashurst managing partner Collis quits for Squire Patton Boggs

Ashurst lifer and former managing partner James Collis has quit the firm to join the London arm of Squire Patton Boggs.

The finance partner, whose practice focuses on acquisition finance and general banking law, was at the helm of Ashurst for four years until June 2016, when he was replaced by current managing partner Paul Jenkins.

Collis took over from Ashurst litigation partner Simon Bromwich in May 2012 and was among the people guiding the firm through the 2013 merger with Australia’s Blake Dawson, becoming the first managing partner of the merged entity.

After training at Ashurst, he became a partner in 2005 and operated out of the firm’s Paris branch before taking on the management role. He announced in January 2016 that he would step down at the end of his four-year term, kicking off the selection process that resulted in Australia-based Jenkins’ anointment in June that year. Collis’ successor was then confirmed in his role in May this year.

Squires’ European managing partner Jane Haxby said Collis was ‘one of the City’s leading legal professionals, an outstanding practitioner in finance law, and a skilled and highly respected managing partner, who has successfully overseen one of the largest law firm mergers’.

The hire comes amid a turbulent period for Squires’ London arm, marked by a number of partner departures since the beginning of the year mainly to the London arm of Crowell & Moring. Financial litigation partner and former City head Robert Weekes quit at the beginning of the year, followed in February by former colleagues including litigation partner Laurence Winston, London insolvency head Cathryn Williams, insolvency partner Paul Muscutt, energy partner Robin Baillie and finance partner Andrew Knight.

This month, UK head of litigation Laurence Winston followed his former colleagues to Crowell. Squires also lost 15 lawyers to Morgan Lewis in February.

Haxby added: ‘Our London office is of strategic importance to our global firm and we will continue to build in key areas, including corporate, financial services and international dispute resolution.’

For more on post-Collis Ashurst, see ‘Inflection point – Ashurst steps back from the brink but can the revival last? ’ (£)