Stewarts’ partner count nears treble figures as firm promotes six

Disputes firm caps year of growth with women-majority promotions round

Image courtesy of Stewarts Law

Stewarts has promoted six lawyers to partner, including five women, in a round that caps a year of expansion for the specialist disputes firm.  

The round is one larger than last year’s, when four women were promoted. It brings the firm’s total number of partners to 91, with women making up 40% of the partnership.  

The promotions reinforce the firm’s ability to handle high-value and complex disputes, which has also been boosted by recent lateral hires. Those getting the nod include Katherine Fitter in clinical negligence, Francesca Berry and Karen Hutchinson in commercial litigation, Jenny Duggan in divorce and family, Kara Smith in personal injury and James Breese in policyholder disputes. One legal director was also appointed.

Stuart Dench, managing partner at Stewarts, commented: “We are delighted to appoint six new partners and one legal director from 1 May 2024, an exceptionally talented group from across the practice.  

“We have confidence in this new generation of partners to help drive the firm towards its strategic objectives and achieve outstanding results for our clients. We have exciting times ahead.”

Fitter, with over a decade of experience, specialises in significant spinal cord and brain injury cases due to medical negligence.

Of the two commercial litigators, Berry brings a robust portfolio of handling complex commercial, trust and probate disputes. Meantime Hutchinson is noted for her expertise in financial services disputes, civil fraud and professional negligence claims.  

Duggan focuses on navigating high-value divorce and family cases while Smith, who, like Fitter, specialises in personal injury claims, spearheads free legal advice for those affected by severe injuries and leads the firm’s pro bono efforts.

Lastly, Breese is an expert in insurance disputes, advocating exclusively for policyholders ranging from public companies to high-net-worth individuals. He bolsters a team founded by Aaron Le Marquer in 2022, which hired Chloe Derrick as a partner from Mishcon de Reya last July, when it also welcomed experienced litigation partner Alex Leitch, formerly of Paul Hastings. However, Leitch subsequently left the firm in February 2024. His current career destination is unknown.

Other recent notable hires include experienced PI partner Jane Pyrah, who joined from Irwin Mitchell last December, shortly after Giles Salmond joined the tax disputes team from Eversheds Sutherland and Sherina Petit arrived from Norton Rose Fulbright as head of arbitration.

Going the other way, sanctions compliance partner David Savage left Stewarts after four years to join HFW in January 2024, while last October tech disputes partner Emily Cox moved over to Pinsent Masons last year. 

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