06 May 2020

Slaughter and May appoints new practice heads across five teams

Leadership changes see Philip Snell step up to head of financing and Richard Swallow heading up disputes

Portrait of Steve Cooke

Senior partner Steve Cooke

Top UK independent law firm Slaughter and May has shaken up its practice group leadership with new heads appointed across five teams including financing and disputes.

The changes, which were first reported by Law.com, came into place on 1 May and form part of an annual review of the firm’s leadership that coincides with the traditional retirement date for partners.

Stepping down from the partnership after 22 years are head of financing Andrew McClean and head of tax Sara Luder to be replaced by Philip Snell and Mike Lane respectively; although McClean is staying on as a consultant.

Other changes not triggered by retirements see: Richard Swallow replace Sarah Lee as head of disputes and investigations; Rob Sumroy take over as head of IP/IT from David Ives; and Claire Jeffs and Bertrand Louveaux replace Philippe Chappatte as co-heads of competition.

There has also been a corresponding refresh of the firm’s partnership board with four women joining, including disputes partner Holly Ware and Hong Kong-based M&A partner Natalie Yeung.

The magic circle firm lists 23 practices, many of them overlapping, ranging from the flagship corporate and M&A team, which is led by Andy Ryde and Roland Turnill, to niche areas such as sport — the firm advises Arsenal Football Club on its player transfers and advised Tottenham on the construction of its new 62,000 seat stadium.

It also targets 13 sectors, including: banking and finance; insurance; media and telecoms; and tech and digital.

Current senior partner Steve Cooke succeeded Chris Saul in 2016, initially for a five-year term, which was extended in May 2019 until 2024.

He is assisted by former head of financing Paul Stacey, who has the role of executive partner, responsible for overall management strategy, and practice partner David Wittmann, who has a business development role.

On Monday, Herbert Smith Freehills Herbert Smith Freehills’ new chief executive, Justin D’Agostino, unveiled a major shake-up of the firm's management structure and leadership designed to make it more nimble, in a move that echoed a similar exercise being undertaken by Hogan Lovells' incoming CEO Miguel Zaldivar.