Ashurst unveils another record promotions round as 30 make partner

Women make up half of internal partner promotions at Anglo Australian firm over five-year rolling average

New London partners Sara Hamzawi and James Illingworth Images courtesy of Ashurst

Ashurst has promoted 30 lawyers to partner in its latest promotions round, marking the third year in a row the Anglo Australian firm has made up a record number.  

The round is five larger than last year’s and sees the proportion of women increase from 32% to 43%, with a five-year rolling average of 50%.  

Three years ago the firm published a target that at least 40% of its partnership and senior business services leaders would be female by 2026. Its global partnership is currently 33% female, up from 19% in the 2018/19 financial year.

The promotions are effective 1 May and will take the firm’s global partner headcount to more than 500. They are drawn from 14 practice groups, with notable investments in projects and energy transition (37%) and disputes (27%). They span 12 of Ashurst’s 31 offices across Asia, Australia, EMEA, the UK and the US.

Ashurst global chair Karen Davies said the high number of promotions reflected the firm’s commitment to developing a future pipeline of talent.

“Our new partners have each made a crucial contribution to the ongoing success of our clients and the firm,” she said. “I am confident that each of them will play a pivotal role in helping us to continue to deliver a strong performance and outpace the market, as we realise the ambitions we have set ourselves as a firm.” 

As in previous years Australia featured heavily in the round, with 17 lawyers there getting the nod across Sydney (seven), Brisbane (four) and Perth (three), Melbourne (two) and Canberra (one). The firm also bolstered its partner ranks in Melbourne last year with the hire of Neil Pathak from rival Gilbert + Tobin as its first head of M&A for Australia. He joined alongside M&A partner Susannah Macknay.  

There were eight promotions in London, including real estate duo Charlie Reid and Chris Whitehouse, projects lawyer James Illingworth and corporate transactions lawyer Sara Hamzawi. The five remaining promotions were split between Luxembourg, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.  

In terms of practice area, projects and energy transition and dispute resolution gained the most new partners, with six apiece. There were also three promotions in the real estate practice, two in Ashurst’s global loans and planning, access and environment teams, and one each in digital economy transactions, corporate transactions, IP/media, tax, investment funds, restructuring and special situations.  

The rest of the promotions went to members of the firm’s new law arm. Linda Grace, head of the firm’s flexible legal service Ashurst Reach, was made up in Melbourne while a trio of professionals made partner in the firm’s risk advisory business. The final promotion went to Ashurst’s general counsel for APAC, Jane Burton, in Brisbane.  

The round follows Ashurst growing revenue 10% in FY22/23 to a record high of £879m, though profit per equity partner decreased by 0.4% from 2022’s record high of £1.175m to £1.170m. 

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