The Law Society has not always seen eye-to-eye with its City firm contingent but the hire of Allen & Overy’s (A&O) global markets partner Stephen Denyer, who is leaving the Magic Circle firm to join the representative body as City and international head, may go some way towards building a bridge between the two camps.
Despite moving across from private practice Denyer, who is charged with developing relationships with larger firms, already has form in this kind of role.At A&O, his main role was to develop and strengthen a network of independent law firms to deliver advice in over 100 countries where the firm has no offices, or where A&O lawyers face a regulatory bar. He was also the face of the firm for regulatory and professional bodies like the International Bar Association.
Other ambassadorial roles held by Denyer during his time at A&O include international development partner between 2007 and 2009, and co-managing partner of the firm’s Italian offices in 2003. He also had a ten-year stint as regional managing partner with responsibility for the firm’s Continental European offices in 1997, and headed the Frankfurt office for two years in 1998 and the Warsaw office from 1995 until 1997.
Denyer will relocate from Frankfurt to London in the Spring next year to start the new role, said to have been created to meet the body’s increasing global reach and growing membership, which currently includes 17,000 City solicitors.
City firms have often criticised the Law Society for a lack of ability to understand their needs – distinct from the high street practitioners that the society also represents – preferring instead to lobby through the City of London Law Society. However, many of the long-running areas of real contention, such as the society’s restrictive interpretation of the rules on conflicts of interest, have been adopted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
A&O commented: ‘Stephen Denyer will retire from Allen & Overy at the end of the financial year to take up the position of Head of City and International at the Law Society of England and Wales. We would like to thank Stephen for the contribution he has made during his time at Allen & Overy and wish him all the best for the future.’