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‘My race in big law has been run’: White & Case private equity veteran Bagshaw to depart this summer

White & Case’s high-profile private equity head Ian Bagshaw is set to leave the firm in June to pursue other opportunities outside of law.

The White & Case partnership was informed of Bagshaw’s departure in an internal announcement this morning (16 April). In a LinkedIn post published today, Bagshaw said: ‘After seven years at each of Eversheds, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and White & Case, I have decided that my race in big law has now been run.‘I have really enjoyed it all and in many ways I feel I have been completely spoiled career wise working with some of the most talented clients, as well as partners and associates that PE and law has to offer. I also leave behind a very capable PE team at W&C who I am very proud of and who have, and will, continue to make a real contribution to the firm’s success going forwards.

‘However, I hit 50 late last year and have spent the last part of lockdown wondering whether I could do something different in a post-pandemic world. I don’t think that I am alone in (re)discovering what’s important to me around work, family, charity and friends.

‘What my next step is, I don’t yet know. It’s quite daunting after being a lawyer for 25 years 24/7, but I am actually looking forward to slowing down, going offline and taking a digital detox to work this out.’

A White & Case spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that Ian Bagshaw is leaving White & Case effective 30 June. We wish him well in the future.’

A self-confessed ‘Marmite’ character, Bagshaw’s step away from a successful PE practice comes four years after the departure of his respected co-head Richard Youle to Skadden. The move split the long-running and successful pairing, who had known each other since Youle was Bagshaw’s trainee at Eversheds in the 1990s. It was announced in 2013 that Youle would be joining White & Case with Bagshaw from Linklaters, where the pair had to build the Magic Circle firm’s private equity practice almost from scratch after the departure of Graham White and Raymond McKeeve in 2007.

They were then both named co-heads of PE at White & Case in 2015 and have been central to a strong run of form for the City office of the US firm. Two years after their arrival, the private equity group in London was already pulling in close to the £40m that the Linklaters team had been generating under their leadership.

Bagshaw’s departure will surely be counted as a loss for the firm, with insiders having credited White & Case’s rapid ascension over the past several years in part to his leadership of the private equity practice. His arrival coincided with the firm adding a raft of lucrative clients to its book, such as Mid Europa Partners, Global Infrastructure Partners, Triton Partners, Novator Partners, CVC Capital Partners, Rhône Capital, Bridgepoint and Arle.

In a 2018 Legal Business feature on White & Case’s meteoric growth, one ex-partner said: ‘The big breakthrough has been the PE practice. The firm had hardly added anyone in corporate, it had been weak. The turning point was when it started to build a proper corporate practice. Bagshaw and Youle transformed it.’  

For more, read ‘Reborn Supremacy, inside the unlikely White & Case revolution’.

For an in-depth review of Bagshaw’s career, see his ‘Life During Law’ interview with Legal Business from 2019.