Harbottle & Lewis name first female senior partner in firm’s history

Catherine Bedford to replace Gerrard Tyrrell, who is stepping down from the role after nearly 17 years

Catherine Bedford Image courtesy of Harbottle & Lewis

London firm Harbottle & Lewis has elected family lawyer Catherine Bedford as its next senior partner, the first woman to hold the position in its nearly 70-year history.

Bedford will succeed Gerrard Tyrrell who is stepping down after almost 17 years as senior partner. She will take up her new role from 1 April, seven years after joining the firm as head of its family team. The appointment completes the new senior leadership of the firm, following the election of co-managing partners Charlie Leveque and Tony Littner late last year.

Leveque said: “Catherine is an outstanding professional and rightly held in high regard by colleagues, clients and the wider professional community. Since joining the firm in 2017 Catherine has been instrumental in building our family offering, further enhancing our position as an adviser of choice for highly successful individuals, their families and their businesses. I know she will bring that same level of entrepreneurial drive, determination and commitment to excellence to the role of senior partner.”

Bedford joined Harbottle & Lewis from Lee & Thompson, where she spent more than 11 years. She has recently represented celebrity clients including Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner and reality TV personality and model Christine McGuinness.

She noted it was a “real point of pride” to become the firm’s first female senior partner, adding that it is a milestone for the firm but a further indication of the progress the profession is making more widely on gender equality.

She said: “Alongside our reconstituted leadership team, and strengthened business services team, I am focused on supporting our ongoing growth while championing these values and everything that makes Harbottle & Lewis unique, and the firm of choice for the best legal talent looking to do interesting work for interesting people.”

Tyrrell, a media and defamation lawyer, has been with the firm since the early 80s, becoming a partner in 1984. He has represented high profile clients including the Royal Family, Kate Moss and the Beckhams.

Leveque thanked Tyrrell for his “indelible contribution in the role of senior partner over the past 17 years – which has been a transformative period in our near 70-year history and has helped create the platform for success which we continue to build on together”.

Bedford’s elevation to senior partner follows several recent female appointments to senior leadership positions. Last month, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett named Wheatly MacNamara as the first female managing partner of its London office. In late January, Gowling WLG named Emma Pioli as the next chair of its UK business. And in November, Spanish firm Garrigues named Rosa Zarza as its first senior female partner.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]