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Macfarlanes sticks by management duo, reappointing Martin and Howard until 2020

In a conspicuously early move demonstrating confidence in its leadership, the partnership at Macfarlanes has re-appointed Charles Martin (pictured) and Julian Howard to the roles of senior partner and managing partner respectively for another three years.

As soundings were taken from all partners and the results came back to the policy committee, the firm was not required to carry out formal voting. Both Martin and Howard’s terms expire in May 2017, and the new terms will take effect for a further three years until May 2020.

Martin has overseen the firm’s rise to become of the most successful UK firms financially over the last five years. In summer 2015, Macfarlanes posted double-digit growth in both revenue and profits for the second year running. At £1.55m, Macfarlanes’ profit per equity partner (PEP) is now stronger than all of the big four Magic Circle firms.

These figures mark the firm’s fifth consecutive year of top line growth, up an eye-catching 73% since the 2009/10 financial year. The firm’s PEP over this period is even more impressive, growing 118% from £711,000 in the last five years.

It was a marked turnaround for the firm, which bounced back from falling revenues of 10% and 7% in 2008/09 and 2009/10 respectively following a major decline in corporate work post-Lehman.

Martin tells Legal Business the firm made the re-appointments early to make succession smooth.

He said: ‘If we wanted to make a change we want to make sure it’s bedded in and operates smoothly. We will make sure it happens that way in future too.’

‘There’s lots more to be done here. Life doesn’t get easier but the challenge of this job is still exciting and the momentum behind the firm is strong. It’s not a market to be standing still. We continue to make sure all our practice areas are where we want them to be and have internal initiatives on collaboration and focus on sectors. My job will be increasingly externally focused. I will do even more client work,’ he added.

In other recent management news this month Slaughter and May elected M&A heavyweight Steve Cooke as its next senior partner. He will succeed Chris Saul who is to retire after eight years at the helm.