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‘The transition is over’: BCLP names Jinal Shah as new UK managing partner

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) announced this week that Jinal Shah will become the firm’s UK managing partner from 1 January 2024.

He is taking over from Segun Osuntokun, who served in this role since 2018, with Osuntokun now appointed as BCLP’s first global senior partner, also effective from 1 January.

Shah joined BCLP as a partner in 2021, from Orrick, where he spent almost a decade as partner.

On the firm’s strategy, he told LB: ‘Since our combination in 2018, we are a fully integrated international firm and continue to follow our strategy that is centred around our clients and priority sectors. This strategy continues to be to further develop as a leading international firm, with strong local and regional practices as well. It is a combination, a hybrid of that, with balance across our three main departments.’

Recognised by The Legal 500 as a leading individual for corporate work, Shah advises public and private companies, funds and investors on high-value cross-border M&A, private equity, joint ventures and strategic investments.

On his new appointment, he commented: ‘I’m not going to be making big changes from day one, that’s not the way we do things. Things are consensus based, and we do things with long-term objectives. We will have a continued focus on getting the message out to clients about our strengths and our successes.’

Shah represents clients on a broad spectrum of commercial agreements and assisting multinational corporations in navigating the intricate regulatory frameworks of diverse jurisdictions. His client portfolio spans across various sectors, including infrastructure, food and agriculture, retail, technology, media, entertainment, manufacturing, and financial services.

Throughout this year, the firm has disclosed numerous changes in its leadership. In July, BCLP revealed a shift to a single leadership structure, with Steve Baumer set to assume the role of the firm’s inaugural global CEO at the beginning of next year.

Commenting on the changes, Shah said: ‘In terms of single leadership, we have a CEO and global senior partner, and they will work very closely together in shepherding the firm. The team of Steve and Segun is incredibly strong and has widespread support throughout the partnership, so again, I don’t see it as a material change but, as a fully merged international organisation, this is very much part of that.’

He added: ‘It makes it easier to have a single CEO, it is more efficient and practical. It is the normal way of operating for large businesses and we are consistent with that. This marks that the transition is over and we’re now a fully merged firm.’

Baumer, alongside Lisa Mayhew since 2018, both currently serve as the firm’s co-chairs. However, Mayhew will step down from the position when the firm adopts a single leadership structure. Mayhew previously served as the firm’s managing partner from 2015 to 2018.

‘This is business as usual. This is in our constitution, and it was always planned that our co-chairs’ functions were coming to an end with the CEO and senior partner going to replace the co-chairs. This was envisaged at the time of our combination,’ added Shah.

He continued: ‘Lisa has been instrumental in helping to steer us in the early years after the combination and will continue to play a significant role in the firm.’

Earlier this month, BCLP added two new partners, Vishal Mawkin and Russell Van Praagh to its London debt capital markets and corporate finance transactions groups respectively. Mawkin joined from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he was counsel while Van Praagh left his role as a partner at Osborne Clarke after nine years.

However, in September, the firm lost real estate partners Stephen Kelly and Sarah Mahood who joined Greenberg Traurig to launch its UAE office with the hires of real estate partners Stephen Kelly and Sarah Mahood from BCLP.