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22 April 2020

Gender diversity jumps as Allen & Overy appoints 29 partners including three in New York

Magic circle UK firm celebrates 'positive impact' of diversity push as 13 women are promoted

Portraits of Jillian Ashley, Paul Sampson and Beth Troy

New York's new partners: (l-r) Jillian Ashley, Paul Sampson and Beth Troy

Allen & Overy has appointed 29 partners across its network including three in New York with women making up 45% of the successful candidates.

The tally is down from 34 in 2019 with a marked improvement in the gender balance — last year 24% of the new partners were women — and a more geographically diverse set of promotions.

UK and European promotions were down against 2019 while in Asia the number of promotions rose from four to seven and the US tally increased to three from one.

In London ten partners were appointed compared to 14 last year, while the continental European tally halved to six, across the firm’s Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris (three) and Prague offices. The Middle East saw the same number of promotions as last year (three).

The 45% female gender balance is markedly higher than magic circle rivals Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (19%) and Linklaters (27%), which have already unveiled their new partners.

Global managing partner Andrew Ballheimer said: "This group demonstrates the breadth of expertise we have globally at A&O and, importantly, shows that our focus on female progression in recent years is having a positive impact.”

Gareth Price, who succeeds Ballheimer next month, said: “As senior partner, Wim [Dejonghe] has championed the diversity agenda at A&O and we will look to build on this progress together as we move into our new terms as leaders of the firm.”

In terms of practice areas corporate (nine) and banking (nine) shared top billing followed by litigation and capital markets (both five) with just one promotion from within the property team.

The new US partners are all based in New York: banking specialists Paul Sampson and Jillian Ashley; and capital markets attorney Beth Troy.

They join a US partnership boosted last month by the hire of US Department of Justice fraud specialists Billy Jacobson and Jonathan Lopez from Orrick in Washington DC.

Last year, at a time when A&O was in protracted merger talks with O’Melveny & Myers that ultimately failed, just one US lawyer was promoted, Washington DC-based corporate partner Maura Rezendes.

Meanwhile, the seven Asia promotions were spread across Hong Kong (three) with one promotion apiece in Bangkok, Japan, Beijing  and Shanghai, were A&O recently unveiled a formal alliance with Shanghai Lang Yue Law Firm.

Click here for a full list of the partners

Further reading

Latest gender pay gap figures reveal extent of diversity challenge facing top UK law firms — Linklaters joins magic circle rival Allen & Overy in reporting its latest gender pay gap numbers with little evidence of progress

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