01 Dec 2021

All change at the top at Hausfeld as founder steps down

Women take UK and US managing partner roles as firm’s co-chairs step up to replace Michael Hausfeld

Portraits of Melinda Coolidge (left) and Lianne Craig

Melinda Coolidge (left) and Lianne Craig

Veteran disputes lawyer Michael Hausfeld has stepped down as chair of the firm he founded. 

Hausfeld, who becomes chair emeritus, will be replaced by co-chairs Anthony Maton and Brian Ratner as part of a succession plan announced in 2019 when the pair took up their current roles as his deputies.

Current global managing partner Brett Landau remains in post and will work with Maton and Ratner to lead the firm. 

The shake-up, which comes into effect on 1 January, also see the promotion of two women lawyers to regional managing partner positions. Head of commercial disputes Lianne Craig becomes UK managing partner with leading class actions antitrust lawyer Melinda Coolidge assuming responsibility for overseeing the US arm. 

Hausfeld, who remains in practice, will take an advisory role, while also teaching and writing. 

Ratner praised Hausfeld’s work, saying “Michael has done an unparalleled job building and leading the firm.”

Noting the firm’s growth globally to 160 lawyers in twelve offices in the last thirteen years, Hausfeld said the firm’s “global management challenges and opportunities have grown commensurately”.

The firm’s future, he said, was assured under Maton, Ratner, and Landau’s leadership “along with the talent of our managing partners and global management group, and the dedication and skill of our entire team”.

Craig replaces Maton as UK managing partner, a role he has held since the London office was founded in 2008. Litigator John McElroy, succeeds her as head of disputes.

Coolidge, who has served on Hausfeld’s board since 2019, was the firm’s first US associate hire, according to Laundau, making her “the perfect person to take on this important role”. 

Craig and Coolidge’s promotions burnish the firm’s track record on diversity; 35% of the firm’s partners are female, (44% in London) as are 40% of its lawyers globally. The firm’s board also saw gender-positive appointments with three new partners, Reena Gambhir, Megan Jones and Ann-Christine Richter, ensuring that over 50% of the board are female. 

Craig thanked Maton for his “strong leadership and unwavering belief”, saying she would seek to build on his achievements, which had been “pivotal to our success in London”.

She added: “The shifts currently taking place in the way we live and work, present an unprecedented opportunity to find more ‘human’ ways to live our professional lives, access new markets and embrace legal innovations. 

“It is within that dynamic and changing environment that firms such as Hausfeld really thrive.” 

In July, Hausfeld filed a £920m class action lawsuit against Google with the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in a case being brought on behalf of Liz Coll, a ‘consumer champion’ and former digital head at consumer rights organisation Consumers International.