Peter Scott: 'We believe that if we keep the firm together we will maintain the strength of the business to take immediate advantage of the upturn when it arrives.' Shutterstock
The appointment of Peter Scott as managing partner of Norton Rose Fulbright’s (NRF’s) Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region is an important one for the firm.
The practice is one of the verein’s most significant arms and includes its flagship London practice as well as key European centres and important offices like Dubai, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
And his promotion comes as NRF’s EMEA LLP accounts show a £2m dip in turnover for the year to April 2019 to £480.7m against a 5% fall in operating profits to £124.7m, according to Legal Business.
The firm is putting the dip down to a change to US year-end reporting, which itself is part of a drive to create a more integrated global business as articulated by its Project 2020 modernisation strategy.
News in January of the closure of its Bahrain office, leaving it with two offices in the Middle East, can also be interpreted as being part of an ongoing programme to make its network more efficient and profitable.
Scott, who takes over from Martin Scott in April, will bring considerable management experience and knowledge of NRF’s international network to the role.
Global chief executive Peter Martyr described him as “a highly experienced business leader” who, “having operated at both a global and regional level… is superbly equipped to drive the firm’s strategy” across the region.
As well as being head of EMEA litigation he has also led the firm’s global competition practice since 2018, a responsibility that has seen him work closely with US, European, Asian, American, Canadian and South African colleagues.
Meanwhile, as EMEA head of disputes, he has worked to build up the firm’s European litigation team through promotions and targeted lateral hires.
It hasn’t always been easy, with appointments such as this month's hire of restructuring partner Regina Rath from Simmons & Simmons in Frankfurt, counterbalanced by a number of departures to US rivals, particularly in London, but most recently in Brussels, when antitrust partner Christian Filippitsch was named last month as part of the team setting up Reed Smith’s new office there.
Scott said his EMEA and global management roles had given him “a great insight into all parts of the firm and into our key markets” and that he would be using that knowledge to promote the verein’s global platform to regional clients.
Other priorities are improving the consistency of the firm’s legal offering across the network while he is an enthusiastic advocate of NRF Transform, which aims to deploy new skills, technology and processes in order to enhance its service delivery.
On the personnel side, he said: “I plan to look afresh at career development through to partnership and reaffirm our commitment to diversity & inclusion, CSR and sustainability.”
He confirmed, however that he would stay in practice, saying he would continue to work in “supporting our clients on major cases and investigations”.