Addleshaw Goddard begins search for successor as managing partner opts to step down early

John Joyce to stand down next April a year before end of third term

The managing partner of UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard (AG), John Joyce, has announced he will stand down a year ahead of the end of his third term. 

Joyce will step down as managing partner 30 April 2024 at the end of the current financial year, 10 years after he was first elected and at the end of his 25th anniversary as a partner in the business.

“After an amazing 10 years, it is time to move on,” Joyce said. “One of the first things I did as MP was to carry out a major overhaul of the firm’s Members Agreement and that included introducing a two-term limit for managing and senior partners which I believed then and believe now is right as a limit.  

“I never envisaged or intended to do a third term but with the complexities and risk introduced by Covid, the prospect of having an MP election at the time it was due was really difficult and so a third term made sense. Those risks have passed, the firm is in great shape and so there is no better time to find my successor." 

Joyce became managing partner in 2014, was re-elected in 2017 and for his third term in 2021. He has overseen a sustained period of growth during his time at the helm, with revenue growing from £166m in FY2013/14 to £443m in the year to 30 April 2023. During the same time profits have risen more than 200% to £184m, and partner numbers have grown from 178 to 382. 

Joyce steered AG through a merger with Scottish firm HBJ in 2017 and another with established Dublin outfit Eugene F Collins in 2022, the latter of which saw 25 partners join the firm. Over the past few years AG has also opened three offices in Germany, one apiece in France and Luxembourg and is currently awaiting approval to open doors in Saudi Arabia. The firm said that non-UK revenue has grown to represent half of what was its entire turnover in 2013.

AG said the election process to find Joyce’s successor, which had been brought forward by a year following his decision to step down, was already underway. 

“John’s successor will be identified by early 2024, allowing time for a smooth succession,” the firm said. “John will continue beyond 30 April 2024 as a partner in Addleshaw Goddard, with the role profile to be finalised over the coming months.” 

Aster Crawshaw, AG’s senior partner, commented: “We’ve always known that this was going to be John’s last term and we are prepared for what comes next. We’re bringing forward a well-developed plan, and by announcing his decision now, John has ensured that we have plenty of time to run a full election process.”

He added: “John has been an exceptional leader of our firm, and our business has never been stronger. Two mergers, the opening of six other offices and market-beating profitability has been matched by thorough financial management and continued investment in our people and infrastructure. He has our thanks for an outstanding contribution.”

News of Joyce’s decision marks the latest instance of a law firm leader stepping down before the end of their term. Earlier this month it emerged that Norton Rose Fulbright’s chief executive, Gerry Pecht, was stepping down early and retiring from the firm in a surprise move, while in July Allen & Overy appointed its Middle East head, Khalid Garousha, as interim managing partner following the shock resignation of Gareth Price. 

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