Boies Schiller names new managing partner trio in latest leadership shakeup

Move follows departure of co-managing partner Nicholas Gravante to Cadwalader at the start of December

Boies Schiller Flexner (BSF) has named three new managing partners after co-managing partner Nicholas Gravante quit earlier this month to join Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, rounding off a turbulent year for the high-profile New York-based litigation firm that has seen dozens of partners head for the exit.

BSF has appointed Sigrid McCawley, Matthew Schwartz and Alan Vickery to the shared managing partner role, with Gravante’s previous co-managing partner, Natasha Harrison, promoted to deputy chair. 

London-based Harrison and Gravante had presented a united front throughout 2020, including in an interview with The Financial Times in April, when they said they were leading a restructuring that included an overhaul of the firm’s compensation system for younger lawyers as part of a plan to make it smaller, better organised and focused more heavily on big ticket litigation.

On 3 December, chairman and co-founder David Boies stepped forward to deliver a similar message, alongside Harrison, in an interview with Above the Law founder David Lat for his new title, Original Jurisdiction.

“Transition is difficult,” he said. “We did have a challenging period from March through September. But I am now increasingly confident that at least for the next generation, we have leaders who are committed to the culture of the firm, including our values of diversity and inclusion, pro bono work, a mix of billable-hour and contingency-fee work, and a culture of collegiality.” 

Florida-based McCawley has been with the firm for 20 years and has represented a number of Fortune 500 companies in complex litigation. Schwartz, meantime, has been at the firm for almost six years, having previously been an assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He specialises in global investigations, white collar defences and regulatory and compliance matters. Longtime BSF partner Vickery has more than three decades of experience in private practice and government service, representing clients in all aspects of civil and criminal litigation.

Meanwhile, Hamish Hume and Joanna Wright have been added to the firm’s executive committee while it has also made up six new partners.

The appointments are the latest in a series of leadership shakeups for Boies following a run of bad publicity for the firm and Boies, notably around his former representation of now convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein. 

In 2018 the firm installed a four-partner management committee—three of whom have since departed—before ushering in another leadership change in December last year that saw Gravante and London-based Harrison become co-managing partners.

Departures from BSF this year include a 13-partner West Coast team, which joined King & Spalding in April, and a two-partner move to Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison in August.

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