DLA Piper has extended the term of its international managing partner Simon Levine by two years as the firm seeks to maintain stability amid the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Levine was due to complete his second term at the end of next year, but the board recommended waiving the usual two, four-year term limit and allowing Levine to continue in the role for a further two years. That extension will now coincide with the term of new Americas chair, global co-CEO and global co-chair Frank Ryan, who started his first term last month.
Andrew Darwin, senior partner and global co-chair at DLA Piper, said: “We are in exceptional times with significant change ahead both for us as a firm and for the clients we serve. We felt strongly that by extending Simon’s leadership until 2024, we would be best placed to manage the challenges caused by the pandemic, while also ensuring the strategic objectives of the firm are met.”
He added: “We have been on an incredible journey under Simon’s leadership and with the business in robust and resilient shape, are well positioned to help our clients succeed through the unsettling times before us and the road ahead.”
Levine was first elected managing partner and global co-CEO back in 2015, then re-elected for a second term in 2018. In that time he set out to reset the firm’s strategy and develop its culture and values, with a particular focus on both diversity and inclusion and sustainability and ESG.
Levine’s background is in intellectual property, media and sports law. Ryan also has a background in IP, media and sports, joining the firm as a partner back in 2010 from Nixon Peabody, where he was chair of its litigation practice.
Other firms have pressed ahead with leadership changes despite the challenging operating environment. Hogan Lovells this month named Paris IP partner and EMEA regional managing partner Marie-Aimée de Dampierre as its next chair, replacing the Hamburg-based Leopold von Gerlach who completes his three-year term at the end of April. Von Gerlach served just one term as chair, opting to return to his practice instead of seeking a second term.
Last April, a slew of new law firm leaders assumed their roles, just as their jurisdictions were going into lockdown, including TLT head of corporate John Wood who replaced David Pester, Pester having been in the role for 19 years.