BCLP names Segun Osuntokun as new global senior partner

Leading litigator to step up from UK managing partner role in January to work alongside new global CEO Steve Baumer

Segun Osuntokun Image courtesy of BCLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has appointed Segun Osuntokun to the newly-created role of global senior partner.

Osuntokun, currently UK managing partner, also leads the firm’s Africa and civil fraud litigation practices, with deep experience of such disputes in that continent’s key industries. He will work alongside the firm’s global chief executive officer, Steve Baumer, from 1 January 2024.

Baumer, who previously served as co-chair alongside Lisa Mayhew since 2020 after relinquishing his post as head of BCLP’s global transactions practice, will take over the CEO role on the same date.

Baumer succeeded Therese Pritchard, the legacy chair of Bryan Cave, on that firm’s 2018 merger with Berwin Leighton Paisner, where Mayhew was previously managing partner. Mayhew has been a driving force behind the firm’s commitment to gender diversity in law, devising a pioneering leadership scheme for senior women lawyers.

Osuntokun joined legacy BLP in 2007 as a partner, having spent the previous eight years at DLA Piper as both partner and senior associate, and the two years before that at Eversheds. He trained and qualified at Wilde Sapte, now part of Dentons. He has been named for four consecutive years to the UK Powerlist, which recognises and celebrates Britain’s most influential Black people. 

As reported in July, BCLP’s move to a sole senior partner formed part of a planned transition from the existing firmwide co-chairs to a single leadership structure in 2024, in accordance with the firm’s partnership agreement.

Robert MacGregor, who previously held the role of senior partner for the EMEA region, stood down on retirement this summer; Osuntokun, however, will be the first global senior partner of the merged firm.

Osuntokun wrote on LinkedIn that it was “a privilege to be entrusted with this important role and its responsibilities at a pivotal stage in BCLP’s unfolding and exciting story”.

He added: “I am looking forward with relish to the challenge and the opportunities it presents to help continue to shape, for the benefit of our clients, people and communities in which we serve, what BCLP does, who we are and what we stand for.”

Mayhew and Baumer said in a joint statement that Osuntokun “is well-known and widely respected as a leader, partner, and colleague – one who embodies the best of BCLP”.

“Segun understands what’s necessary to help the firm reach the next level, and it’s an honour to welcome him into the role of global senior partner,” they added. 

The appointment of a Black global senior partner of a major transatlantic law firm is a significant step for law firm diversity in the UK, following the appointment of Law Society president, Stephanie Boyce, as the first woman of colour to hold the role last year.

Boyce commented: “Segun brings an incredible wealth of experience and exceptional skillset to this role. He is also a diversity champion who has worked tirelessly to ensure the profession is accessible to those aspiring lawyers from diverse backgrounds.”

She added: “This appointment is a significant step in the right direction to ensuring a more diverse and representative profession especially at the senior leader level where historically those from diverse backgrounds have remained significantly underrepresented.”

Her words were supported by Akima Paul Lambert, litigation partner at Hogan Lovells, who said: “BCLP has demonstrated its continued faith in Segun’s capable leadership. He is proof that with the right support, those of us who form part of the 1% of Black partners in the City can really thrive.”

Boyce was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women and Diversity in Law Awards in March 2023. Nominations for the 2024 Awards close on 30 September. Paul Lambert will serve as one of the judges at the 2024 Awards. 

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