Slaughter and May raids Freshfields to secure first COO

Move completes modernisation of Magic Circle UK firm's management structure following election of first managing partner

Slaughter and May has appointed its first chief operating office after securing the services of magic circle rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s global COO, Jill Hoseason.

Hoseason’s appointment completes a major overhaul of Slaughters’ management structure that brings it broadly in to line with the model adopted by most other leading law firms.

The shake-up, which was unveiled in May, has already seen the firm vote in its first managing partner, litigation partner Deborah Finkler, who will take up the role next May, when practice partner David Wittmann and executive partner Paul Stacey are due to retire at the end of their respective seven- and five-year terms.

Hoseason will join the firm on 1 February and report in to Finkler, providing managerial and operational support to her boss, who will assume ‘the functions of the practice partner, together with the strategic elements of the executive partner’s role’, according to the firm.

“I am delighted to be joining Slaughter and May at this moment in time,” said Hoseason. “A change in management and the creation of these two new roles is an exciting challenge and I very much look forward to getting started.”

Hoseason joined Freshfields as head of HR from PwC in July 2008, became COO in August 2014 and global COO in May 2017.

In a surprise move, in September Slaughters also elected a new senior partner-in-waiting, well ahead of the end of current incumbent Steve Cooke’s term in May 2024

At the time, Cooke said the election of M&A head Roland Turnill more than two years before he is due to assume the role was “consistent with our approach of long-term decision making as we bring in a new management structure over the coming months”.

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