McDermott Will & Emery refreshes London leadership team

Aymen Mahmoud to replace Hamid Yunis as London managing partner, with Graham White named senior partner

Aymen Mahmoud Photo courtesy of McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Will & Emery has named Aymen Mahmoud as its next London managing partner, replacing Hamid Yunis in the role from next month.

Mahmoud – who has been with the firm since 2020 when he joined from Willkie Farr & Gallagher – is currently co-head of the firm’s London transactions group and its finance, restructuring and special situations group. He will take up his new position alongside new senior partner Graham White, who joined the firm in March having most recently led Fried Frank’s London office.

Mahmoud wrote on LinkedIn: “Those who know me will be aware of how proud I am to work with such fantastic colleagues, and that when I say I am humbled on this one, it isn’t a LinkedIn idiom. It is absolutely genuine.”

Speaking to the media, he said: “Ambition is at the core of the McDermott DNA,” adding “I am beyond thrilled to be trusted with the leadership of what is already a fantastic office and can’t wait to drive us to new heights”.

Acknowledging White’s “superb experience, network and strategic nous”, he said the London office would focus on “recruiting, retaining and accelerating the careers of the best talent in the market. There are no limits to where we want to go”.

Yunis, meantime, steps down having led the London office since January 2019, managing the firm’s London response to the Covid-19 pandemic, steering a move into new offices at 22 Bishopsgate and overseeing significant revenue increases.

Yunis is one of the few British Asians to lead the London office of a major law firm, having joined McDermott in 2016 from Taylor Wessing, where he spent more than 14 years and was head of that firm’s healthcare group.

McDermott chairman Ira Coleman said: “I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Hamid. Since taking on the role of office managing partner more than five and a half years ago, Hamid has overseen one of the most dramatic growth stories in our firm, accelerating performance across all dimensions. As he returns to serving clients full-time, he will remain an active champion and ambassador for our London team and the wider firm.”

Calling his tenure “an absolute honour”, Yunis said he was grateful to Coleman and others “for entrusting me with this mission and, above all, to my fantastic colleagues for their passion, dedication and support in executing our vision”.

He added: “I could not be prouder of what we have achieved together, but, as I’ve always said, we need to ‘go again’.”

The firm promoted 46 lawyers to partner in the January promotions round, five of those in London, while average profits per equity partner grew 9.2% to hit a record high of $3.32m, according to data from The American Lawyer.

London’s place in that is set to increase, with the firm acknowledging London revenue had “reached year-on-year record levels even in difficult market conditions, providing a solid springboard for further dynamic expansion”.

Lately, it has expanded into new practice areas, including litigation, white collar, finance, restructuring and employee benefits, and reinforced its capabilities in private equity and M&A, not least with White’s recent arrival and that of star private equity partner Fatema Orjela.

Internationally, McDermott has also made hires in Paris and Brussels, though it also recently had to restate its commitment to Singapore after two partners left for Watson, Farley & Williams, leaving its office in the city-state with just one partner.

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