Legal Business

Life after Sir Nigel – They built it, now what?

DLA Piper’s new head Simon Levine jokes about avoiding becoming the David Moyes to his high-profile predecessor’s Alex Ferguson, but you could make a stronger case that Sir Nigel Knowles’ transformative track record at DLA Piper is closer to making him the firm’s Tony Blair.

Knowles took over an institution amid a period of upheaval and had to fight to establish his authority, which he duly did with a mix of flair, charisma and vision. Because those qualities – not in abundance in the legal profession at executive level during the 1990s – were supported by astute operational point-men like Andrew Darwin, it proved an incredibly potent formula.