Allen & Overy announces new US senior leadership

Global litigation co-head Karen Seward and leading infrastructure partner Kent Rowey to succeed Tim House as US practice co-chairs

Kent Rowey and Karen Seward Image courtesy of Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy (A&O) has announced that global litigation co-head Karen Seward and infrastructure partner Kent Rowey will serve as the next leaders of its US practice. 

The duo will take over as US co-chairs at the start of May from Tim House, who has led the firm in the US since 2017. 

London-based Seward joined A&O as a partner in 2000 from Pinsent Masons and brings more than 30 years’ legal experience in litigation, employment law and sensitive crisis situations. She is also a member of the firm’s executive committee. 

Meantime Rowey joined A&O’s projects, energy, natural resources and infrastructure practice in 2012 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and has more than 35 years of legal experience. He splits his time between A&O’s New York and Los Angeles offices, the latter of which the firm said he played an “instrumental” role in opening in 2021 with the hire of a 19-lawyer project finance and renewables team from Akin Gump. 

The duo are set to take over after a concerted expansion effort by A&O in the US that has saw the firm add teams from rivals including White & Case and Goodwin Procter in 2021 and early 2022 to open offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Boston as well Los Angeles. 

Those hires have contributed to the firm, which also has offices in New York and Washington DC, growing its US lawyer headcount from 180 to 270 during House’s six years at the helm. 

And the investment appears to be paying off, with A&O saying an ‘exceptional’ US performance contributed half of the 10% revenue growth it saw in the year ending 30 April 2022, when fee income hit £1.94bn. 

The firm said that as US co-chairs, Seward and Rowey would share responsibility for continuing to grow its US business and reinforcing client relationships. 

A&O's senior partner, Wim Dejonghe, commented: “With our globally integrated business model, our US practices have become an invaluable component of our global service offering, with US growth responsible for 50% of the firm’s worldwide growth last year. Our gratitude goes out to Tim for his leadership, commitment and contributions to the US expansion strategy. We look forward to Karen and Kent's vision for continuing A&O’s accelerated growth.”

After stepping down House will take on the role of chair of A&O’s Centre for Leadership, Innovation & Change.

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