Macfarlanes makes up six in latest partner promotions round

Cohort brings top London independent closer to hitting gender diversity goals

Felicity Powell (l) and Fred Snowball Images courtesy of Macfarlanes

Leading City independent Macfarlanes has made up six in its latest partner promotions round.  

The round is slightly smaller than the previous two years’ eight-strong groups and includes two women – a step down on the 2023 cohort, which achieved gender parity, but bettering the previous year when the round also included two women, or 25% of the total. 

The 2022 promotions followed the firm joining many of its UK rivals in unveiling a new set of diversity targets, which include the aim to achieve a 35% female and at least a 10% ethnic minority partnership by 2030, with an interim target of at least 30% female partners and 7% ethnic minority partners by 2026.  

Macfarlanes has increased its proportion of women partners by 10% over the past five years and as of 1 April 2024, when the promotions come into effect, its 96-strong partnership will include 23 women – 24% of the total. As of the same date three of the firm’s partners are from an ethnic minority background. 

This year’s successful female candidates include Felicity Powell and Laura Bridgewater, who have been made up in the firm’s flagship corporate and M&A and litigation and dispute resolution teams respectively.  

Powell joined Macfarlanes as a trainee in 2013 and advises on matters including private company M&A, private equity and transactions in the infrastructure sector, while Bridgewater advises financial institutions and corporates on complex, multi-jurisdiction investigations and contentious regulatory matters. She began at the firm as a trainee in 2012 and has been seconded to the Macquarie Group and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The litigation team also welcomed Fred Snowball, who specialises in cross-border litigation and international arbitration, while in the firm’s market-leading private client practice Paul Hardwick and Michael Shaw moved up. Hardwick focuses on governance, succession, trust and tax matters for international families and their businesses, while Shaw advises on cross-border tax, structuring and succession matters for individuals, trustees and family offices.  

The final promotion went to Joe Robinson in the tax team, which saw partner Ceinwen Rees exit earlier this year to lead the London tax practice at Kirkland & Ellis, as the latter restocked its City bench following a raid by Paul Weiss. Robinson is corporate tax lawyer specialising in asset management tax and M&A, with a focus on private capital managers.

The promotions follow Macfarlanes’ revenue and profits dipping in FY23 after a barnstorming set of results the year before that reflected near-perfect market conditions for the firm, given its focus on private equity and public M&A markets that broke record after record during the reporting period.  

Revenue in FY23 fell 2.3% to £296.6m against a nearly 16% drop in profits per equity partner to £2.1m, a figure that nevertheless saw the firm compare favourably with Magic Circle rivals.  

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