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27 January 2020

CMS and Proskauer confirm women in top leadership positions

Penelope Warne to serve second term as CMS senior partner as Daryn Grossman becomes Proskauer's second-ever managing partner

Women lawyers have secured leadership positions at top international firms on either side of the Atlantic. In London, CMS announced on Friday (24 January) that its partners have voted in senior partner Penelope Warne (pictured) to serve a second term at the head of the UK LLP, a top 10 UK firm with revenue last year of £546m ($715m).

On the same day Proskauer announced the appointment of co-head of corporate Daryn Grossman as its managing partner, completing a leadership handover at the firm following the appointment last autumn of Steven Ellis as chairman elect.

Warne will serve an additional four-year term at the helm of CMS, having originally taken the reins at the expansionist firm in 2014.

The firm said she had sought to place diversity at the top of its agenda, noting that 40% of its board are women while women make up 30% of the firm’s UK partnership.

Meanwhile, revenue has more than doubled over the past five years, fuelled by two sets of mergers: with top Scottish firm Dundas & Wilson in 2014; followed by the tripartite merger with Nabarro and Olswang in 2017

Warne said CMS had undergone “a truly extraordinary transformation through mergers and strategic growth” adding that she would “continue promoting a strong and supportive culture” at the firm.

At Proskauer, where firm-wide revenue approached $1bn last year, Grossman succeeds Bruce Lieb as the firm’s second-ever managing partner.

Grossman becomes managing partner after 17 years as a corporate partner at Proskauer, most recently as co-chair of the 350-lawyer strong corporate department.

She is also credited with creating the firm’s life sciences group and counts the diversity task force among the firm-wide committees she has served on.

Her appointment completes a leadership shake-up at the firm. Last autumn Steven Ellis, co-chair of the private credit group, was named as the successor to the firm’s chair, Joseph Leccese.

Lieb and Leccese had been at the helm of the firm for nine years, overseeing a near doubling of profits, according to the firm, which also credits them with promoting a successful diversity agenda and securing “enormous expansion in its transactional practices and London office”.

Last year, the firm, which also has a European office in Paris, was named European firm of the year for fund formation by the magazine Private Equity International. 

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