Legal Business Blogs

‘I’ll do it my way’: OC elects Davies as UK leader, replacing much-admired Berg

Mere weeks after being declared Management Partner of the Year at the Legal Business Awards, Osborne Clarke (OC) has today (19 October) announced that longstanding UK leader Ray Berg is being replaced by corporate partner Conrad Davies.

Davies, who is also international head of OC’s urban dynamics group, will assume the position of UK managing partner on 1st January 2023 after being elected by the firm’s partnership.

He has spent over 17 years at OC since joining from Jones Day, becoming a partner in 2011. Since then, Davies helped establish the firm’s corporate real estate practice, and also led OC’s international real estate and infrastructure sector for seven years.  

Davies (pictured) told Legal Business:  ‘My key aim is to continue the business in Ray’s image, by keeping up our people commitments around pay and benefits to ensure Osborne Clarke is a firm people are proud to be part of.  

‘The way Ray connected with our people over the years has been absolutely fabulous. But he did it his way, and I will do things my way. He represented a great bunch of people behind him, and they are still here, so my job is to continue the great work of representing their interests.’  

In terms of immediate priorities, Davies said he would look to bring in a chief operating officer in the short-term ‘as there’s some leadership qualities to be brought to bear with that’, as well as ensuring the firm is well-equipped for potential macroeconomic headwinds. 

It brings to an end a successful eight-year term for Berg, who has been widely credited as playing a key role in OC’s recent financial and strategic success in the UK. In particular, he has been noted for his instrumental role in developing and leading OC’s five-year 2025 strategy investing in clients, people, ESG and business. On the financial front, Berg last year oversaw a 20% jump in UK-only turnover from £166.4m to £199.1m. 

Berg was popular with clients, many of whom turned out to support his Management Partner of the Year submission with strong testimonials. Richard Allen, general counsel and company secretary of Dialight, said of Berg: ‘As a client I have known Ray Berg for 20 years – first meeting him when he was a young partner in the OC corporate department. 

‘The attributes that meant I kept going back to him then are what I still see in him today: adaptability and pragmatism, an openness to new ideas and ways of doing business, and a refreshing lack of stuffiness; a clear-sighted commerciality, financial awareness and understanding of how business really ticks; a complete lack of pomposity – he wears his excellent intellect lightly; an easy-going and approachable style but not someone afraid to call out irrationality, muddle-headedness or poor behaviour; and, an intellectual and emotional awareness and integrity, which is sadly as rare as hens-teeth in the legal profession.’ 

For more on Berg’s life both inside and outside of law, read our 2017 Life During Law interview here.