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28 February 2020

Allen & Overy's partners opt for continuity as they vote in new leadership

Magic circle firm votes in new managing partner but sticks with Wim Dejonghe for top role

Photograph of Gareth Price

Allen & Overy's new managing patner, Gareth Price

UK magic circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O) has settled on its leadership for the next four years after partners voted in global head of projects and energy Gareth Price as global managing partner.

He will work alongside newly re-elected senior partner Wim Dejonghe, who was confirmed in the role on Tuesday (25 February) after beating off a challenge by banking co-head Philip Bowden.

Price will succeed Andrew Ballheimer when he steps down on 30 April having taken part in a contested vote alongside three other partners.

The contested elections for both roles will have allowed the firm to debate its strategy in the light of last year’s failure of the firm’s high-stakes merger talks with US practice O’Melveny & Myers.

Dejonghe’s reappointment for a second term would suggest an understanding among the firm’s partners that the protracted and ultimately unsuccessful talks were worth the risk given the difficulty of building a significant presence in the US organically.

It allows for considerable continuity at the firm as it considers how best to tackle the US market following the setback.

Dejonghe was managing partner of the firm’s Belgian offices from 1996 having joined as partner in 2001 and was appointed global managing partner in 2008.

He said: “A&O has seen considerable success in recent years and I’m looking forward to building on this, seeking further innovation and cementing our position as a global elite law firm.”

In January, A&O announced it had forged a formal alliance with a local practice in Shanghai

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