Dewey management in denial as exits continue

Management at Dewey & LeBoeuf has reacted defensively to widespread partner exits in 2012, contending the firm’s position is ‘strong’ and that it will ‘meet its financial targets for the year’.

Dewey has already seen a mass exodus of partners from its business since the start of the year, with almost 70 partners having departed – one of the highest number of partner departures in such a short timeframe.

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Bevan Brittan – Don’t Look Back

Bevan Brittan – Don’t Look Back

Bevan Brittan’s new managing partner began work on 1 May, taking over a firm in a much stronger position than in 2008. While Duncan Weir is keen to move on and face up to future challenges, he will ensure his recent experience in helping turn the firm around will not be wasted.

Bevan Brittan wasn’t ready to participate in this feature initially. When we asked to speak to outgoing chief executive Andrew Manning and new managing partner Duncan Weir for our April issue, we were asked to hold off for a few weeks.

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Shaw abruptly steps down from Dundas leadership

Dundas & Wilson’s managing partner Donald Shaw unexpectedly announced in March that he is stepping down from his post midway through his second term.

It is unclear why Shaw stepped down, however suggestions from former partners and the market are that partners were unhappy with his management.

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Weightmans – Feet on the ground

Weightmans – Feet on the ground

After four years of consecutive revenue growth and two transformative mergers in 2011, Weightmans is our National/Regional Firm of the Year. However, there’s no chance of any of it going to the managing partner’s head.

Weightmans’ Patrick Gaul (pictured) is as laid back and straightforward as managing partners come. In an unmistakable scouse accent reminiscent of Ringo Starr, his answers are economical and precise. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and, in a trait quite rare among managing partners, is very low on hyperbole.

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The right chemistry

The right chemistry

Forget the egos, conflicts and pay packets. Here’s our winning formula for creating a dream team outside of the established elite.

In July 2002, we carried a feature bringing together a group of partners that would create a genuine competitor for the Magic Circle, a true fantasy law firm (‘Futures, options and swaps’, LB126, page 36). A decade on, it’s time to have another look at where the true talent outside of the elite group of law firms can be found.

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Gold Standard

Gold Standard

Mishcon de Reya was a standout performer in the 2011 LB100, jumping 11 places on the back of a 37% leap in turnover. LB charts the firm’s recent success and asks senior management where it is heading.

Kevin Gold, Mishcon de Reya’s managing partner, leads the way to a meeting room clutching a walking stick, the result of a motorcycle accident in June 2008. He broke his leg and encountered a number of complications while recovering, including contracting MRSA in hospital. For almost two years, as he underwent 19 operations restoring him to mobility and health, Gold was not always around. But such was the strength of the firm he had shaped over the preceding ten years that Mishcons went from strength to strength during that time becoming, as Gold puts it, ‘pretty unique’.

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Renaissance Man

Renaissance Man

Mark Dembovsky joined Howard Kennedy as chief executive in January 2011, charged with turning around the fortunes of a West End firm widely considered to be on shaky ground. A year on, LB assesses his progress.

Sitting in on one of the newly established management meetings in Howard Kennedy’s West End offices, it is initially hard to work out exactly who is in charge. Head of corporate Michael Harris, property finance chief Jason Lewis, and dispute resolution head Craig Emden all chip in to answer questions about the firm and its new strategy, while one member of the group sits watching quietly. Suddenly one of the partners falters, unsure of how to answer a question about what the firm’s new ‘Aiming for Excellence’ scheme entails, and the quiet man springs into action.

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Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

Clyde & Co’s Michael Payton has held the top job at the firm for 27 years and since 1997 has formed a formidable partnership with CEO Peter Hasson.

On the eve of the firm’s much-hyped union with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, LB takes a closer look at this successful management duo.

Michael Payton has presence: there is no other word for it. As one of the longest-serving senior partners in the City, when he enters the room he instantly seems to take charge.

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BLP – Ten years gone

BLP – Ten years gone

Berwin Leighton Paisner is a decade old this year, a period marked by impressive financials, a revolving door of partners and tentative international expansion. LB assesses the firm ahead of its difficult teenage years.

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) managing partner Neville Eisenberg is impeccably well prepared for our meeting. Next to his black coffee he has printed e-mails and details of the firm’s financials over the past ten years. In his soft South African brogue, his responses are polished and littered with management-speak. He gives nothing away. But one question gives him pause – when asked if he will stand for re-election next year, he hesitates before answering cautiously: ‘Obviously I’m thinking about it.’ However, he says it’s still early days.

 

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