While the upper echelon of City law has seen senior female leaders before in Penelope Warne at CMS, Sonya Leydecker at Herbert Smith and Lovells’ Lesley McDonagh before them, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has beaten Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters to the punch by electing the first-ever woman to a top leadership role in the Magic Circle. The firm today (24 September) announced it has elected Asia disputes head Georgia Dawson as its new senior partner.
And – as has long been rumoured – the new senior partner will head up a reconfigured leadership team, including the hotly-tipped Alan Mason and Rick van Aerssen, as well as Rafique Bachour. Continue reading “Glass ceiling finally shattered for Magic Circle as Freshfields elects female senior partner”
Ashurst has elected two new board members from its corporate partner ranks in Sydney and Melbourne while respected dealmaker Karen Davies has been reappointed in London.
The move, which takes effect on 1 November, sees Sydney corporate partner Phil Breden and Melbourne corporate partner Kylie Lane elevated as Davies, who has been on the board since 2017, is re-enlisted for a further stint. Continue reading “Australia yields two new board members for Ashurst as Davies gets re-elected in London”
The back-to-school feel in the City is unmistakable, not least because the actual schools are back, as major law firms attempt to find something like normality in an environment that remains a few standard deviations from the norm.
In some ways it was ever thus come the end of August. As one law firm leader remarks: ‘I said to our FD: “September will be crucial,” and was swiftly was reminded I’ve said that for the last five years.’ This has always been the defining period for law firms’ financial year, just more so now. So, how’s it looking out there? Continue reading “‘The top firms can hardly believe it’ – City law firms are quietly gathering momentum amid the uncertainty”
The reign of one of global law’s longest-serving leaders will come to an end shortly with Peter Martyr completing his final term for Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) at the end of this year, the firm announced today (17 August).
Replacing Martyr will be global head of disputes Gerry Pecht, meaning the firm will be led by a partner from its legacy Fulbright & Jaworski hub in Texas after almost two decades of leadership out of London. Pecht specialises in commercial litigation involving securities and investigations in the energy sector, and has headed up the practice since 2014. Continue reading “Martyr bows out after two-decade reign as NRF chooses new chief executive”
The Covid-19 crisis is creating a lot of learning and insight across the legal sector and the wider communities in which we work and live. Much of this revolves around actions that organisations and their leaders are taking to navigate the crisis – including what leaders should do to manage uncertainty.
A key feature of law firms is that many people are leaders – not just those in formal senior leadership roles. A high degree of distributed management serves a range of teams. That is a real strength of our industry. Empowering those leaders to act in a way that helps their teams and drives the wider business forward is key. Continue reading “Leadership in a crisis (or how to build the ship while sailing it)”
Sometimes a shock looks certain to leave life forever changed only for things to carry on much as normal. Sometimes, the jolt marks a genuine crack in the foundations underpinning industries, business and society. We now know that for the profession and the City, the banking crisis proved very much in the latter camp. In law, the most visible result of this was the end of the startling 25-year success story of the Magic Circle, closing the period in which the group had blazed a trail across the global market and become utterly dominant in their core European and Asian heartlands.
After the banking crisis, growth slowed, ground was ceded to US rivals, and even some mid-tier rivals, and the group lost much of the strategic daring that defined their remarkable ascent. They remained successful institutions but the swagger was gone, the myth of invincibility lost. Continue reading “Comment: After their lost decade, the current crisis should see the Magic Circle back on world-beating form”
Casting my mind back to the ancient history of mid-March when I penned my first piece assessing the impact that the coronavirus crisis would have on the profession, I was forced to rely on guess work and recent history as a guide. London was in semi-lockdown, the official death toll from the virus hovered around 10,000 globally – taking a view on how it would play out was a matter of gut, contacts and an anorak’s grounding in the business model of law.
My core case was that the profession would be one of the least-impacted major industries but would take a major hit in what was clearly going to be a deep recession. The other contention was that the pandemic would put the lofty values and soft issues that law firms have become increasingly inclined to promote to a brutal test, a benchmark many would fail. Continue reading “Comment: Gauging the profession’s Covid-19 response – Turns out five years of spouting values wasn’t just puff”
Latham & Watkins’ executive committee has appointed Stephen Kensell as London managing partner, just four years after he joined from Allen & Overy (A&O).
The appointment, effective yesterday (5 March), sees the banking veteran take over from fellow finance partner Jay Sadanandan, who leaves the post after five years. Continue reading “‘Building on the momentum’: Latham appoints banking veteran Kensell as London head”
After a hard-fought election which saw four vie for leadership, the Allen & Overy (A&O) partnership has thrown its weight behind Gareth Price as its new managing partner.
The global head of both the projects and energy group, Price joins Wim Dejonghe, who was earlier this week re-elected to a second stint as senior partner, to complete the City giant’s leadership. Continue reading “Seward misses out as A&O names its Price for managing partner successor”
After what was viewed as a too-close-to-call contest, Allen & Overy (A&O) partners have elected Wim Dejonghe as senior partner for a second four-year term.
The move is a vote of confidence for Dejonghe (pictured), who had stood against another heavyweight candidate in the form of Philip Bowden, the City giant’s well-regarded banking co-head. The election also came in the wake of a contentious failed bid for a US merger. Continue reading “A&O re-elects Dejonghe for a second term after heavyweight challenge”