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London rules again as Latham elects deal finance guru Trobman as new chief

Latham & Watkins is sticking to London for its new chair and managing partner, electing deal finance heavyweight Richard Trobman to the role.

Previously the firm’s co-vice chair, Trobman will step into the role immediately, bringing to an end a three-month long search for a successor to Bill Voge, who resigned from the firm in March amid allegations of misconduct involving communications with a woman outside the firm.

He will stay on initially for a five-year term but told Legal Business he was prepared to stay on for at least two terms to ensure continuity at the US giant.

The only candidate based outside Latham’s US heartlands in the race, Trobman has seen off competition from seven other candidates from the firm’s DC, New York and Los Angeles offices. He is the second consecutive managing partner of the firm to come out of the London office, an unusual move from a US law firm.

‘It’s a reflection of the fact that our partners have a global outlook and they believe in our global strategy,’ said Trobman. ‘For us it’s entirely consistent with what we are and how we see ourselves.’

‘It is so humbling and such a great honour, it seems like it is not real and at the same time it is very real and I look forward to the next steps and to hopefully continuing to do great things here.’

He added that his core focus will be on ‘unlocking the potential of our platform’. ‘2018 looks like a fantastic year and a lot of that is attributable to the fact that a lot of clients are using us in more and more practices and geographies.’

One of the top high-yield lawyers in Europe and one of Latham’s most prominent operators, Trobman joined the firm in 1991 as an associate in Los Angeles, transferring to New York in 1993. He made partner in 2000, the year he moved to London, and is closely associated with the hugely successful build out of Latham’s London practice. The firm now generates in the region of $300m in the City and is considered by many as the most potent US threat in Europe to the London legal elite.

The list of Trobman’s roles in Latham’s management is long. He was London chair of corporate in 2008-14 and was elected co-vice chair in February last year. He then took on the role of interim co-head alongside California-based Ora Fisher when Voge stepped down.