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Slaughters galvanises succession to name Finkler and Turnill its next generation leaders

In an unusual display of forward planning for a City leader, Slaughter and May has already earmarked Roland Turnill (pictured) to succeed Steve Cooke as senior partner when he steps down from the role on 1 May 2024.

The announcement today (28 September) came within a week of the news that respected litigator Deborah Finkler had been elected as Slaughters’ first managing partner as of 1 May 2022, following the planned retirement of practice partner David Wittmann and executive partner Paul Stacey.

These recent elections follow a June disclosure detailing the rationale for a change in structure of the executive function at the firm, in which the managing partner will assume the functions of the practice partner along with the strategic elements of the executive partner’s role. Meanwhile, a chief operating officer role is also being created to take on the managerial and operational aspects of the executive partner’s role.

Deal stalwart Turnill joined Slaughters in 1996 and became a partner in 2004. He currently heads up the firm’s M&A practice and is also co-head of its financial institutions group. A member of the partnership board since 2016, his listed client roster boasts Vodafone, Royal Dutch Shell and Prudential. He will continue in full-time practice until a transition period starts in early 2024.

The highly-regarded M&A specialist Cooke was first elected as the City institution’s senior partner in 2016 for a five-year term and in 2019 had his term extended for another three years to 2024.

Cooke said of the move: ‘The energy and drive [Turnill] brings to his client relationships and the excellent job that he is doing currently as head of M&A and FIG co-head mean he will bring a wealth of experience when he steps into the senior partner role in 2024. The decision to appoint the next senior partner well ahead of time is consistent with our approach of long-term decision making as we bring in a new management structure over the coming months.’

Finkler, a leading light in banking and commercial litigation and regulatory investigation whose clients include Santander, JP Morgan and WPP, joined the firm in 1986 and became a partner in 1991. She will be instrumental in the appointment of the new COO and will continue fee-earning until early 2022.

Cooke said of Finkler’s election: ‘Her reputation as a practitioner is outstanding and she combines this experience with great knowledge of the firm from her time as head of our disputes and investigations group and as a previous member of the partnership board. These were roles to which she brought great drive and integrity and make her ideally equipped to be the firm’s first managing partner.’

Finkler commented: The creation of the managing partner role marks a significant change for the firm. It is an exciting challenge for me, and I am grateful for the support of my partners as I step up. I am looking forward to shaping the role of and hiring the COO over the coming months, but my focus will remain on fee-earning work until I begin a handover period with David and Paul early next year.’