Withers adds seven new partners in London-focused round

Five move up in the UK capital as firm targets growth in dispute resolution, corporate, finance and IP to serve core client base
Photo headshots of Jennifer Dickson (left) and Libby Payne

Jennifer Dickson (left) and Libby Payne

Top 30 UK law firm Withers has promoted seven lawyers to partner from across its private client, business and dispute resolution teams.

The latest round matches the size of last year’s summer cohort, but has a distinct London focus compared to a more even geographic spread in 2021. 

This cohort includes two women, or 29% percent of the total, an increase on last year’s round which only featured one woman. 

The promotions, effective 1 July, see five partners move up the ranks in the firm’s London headquarters across a mix of practice areas. 

George Coleman, who works with clients on the acquisition and disposal of prime residential property, and David Holland, who advises individuals, trusts and companies on property transactions and related issues such as leases and mortgages, have moved up in the real estate team. 

Jennifer Dickson was promoted in the firm’s divorce and family team and has particular expertise in cases involving international connections, and trusts or complex corporate structures, while Mark Lynch, who advises on M&A, joint ventures, corporate reorganisations and boardroom disputes, was welcomed in the corporate practice. 

Rounding out the London promotions is Libby Payne. She advises businesses and senior executive clients on employment law issues, including contractual advice and tribunal cases, and has particular experience in the sports sector. 

Having made up three lawyers last summer in San Francisco and San Diego, the sole US promotion this time round went to New Haven-based Ryan LoRusso, a private client lawyer who advises on domestic US and international tax planning. 

The final promotion went to corporate lawyer Mattia Biasi in Milan. He works with Italian businesses as well as international institutions investing into Italy and primarily advises on M&A deals, with a focus on real estate transactions. 

"It's immensely important to us to bring through our emerging leaders and we are lucky to have such a strong pool of homegrown talent,” said Margaret Robertson, chief executive of Withers. “Congratulations to all of these new partners, who ably show how we offer our business and individual clients a full range of services for all of their needs. Through the promotion of our internal talent and the addition of lateral partner hires, we continue to equip the firm for the future."

Withers has two promotions rounds annually, in January and in July. This January it made up four partners, in San Francisco, Boston, Milan and the British Virgin Islands. That compared to 12 promotions in January 2021: six in London, three in San Diego, two in Singapore and one in Tokyo. 

Last August the firm, which is best known for its private client work, reported it had grown revenue by 11% over the previous year to £243.7m against a 32% increase in profit-per-equity-partner to £660k. 

The firm said at the time that over the previous five years it had grown revenue by 50% and profits by 90%, results it partly attributed to investment in its international network, particularly in Asia and on the US West Coast – where it opened in San Francisco in 2014 and San Diego, Los Angeles and Rancho Santa Fe a year later.

It also pointed to a strategy of building dispute resolution capability and corporate, finance and IP practices to serve its core client base of high-net-worth and entrepreneurial clients.

Withers has been busily adding to its international network over the past year, including hiring partner Carlo Alberto Demichelis in Milan in March from Baker McKenzie to head its brand protection and IP advisory for Italy.

Among the other partner laterals was aviation specialist Paul Jebely, who joined in Hong Kong in January from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman to head the firm’s newly-launched global asset finance practice and Hollywood divorce lawyer Samantha Klein, who came aboard last summer in Los Angeles from local firm Wasser Cooperman & Mandles to launch a US family practice.

Going the other way, the firm has seen two office heads depart in the US since the start of the year. Kevin Keen moved over to Katten Muchin Rosenman in Dallas in April, a year after he moved to Withers from Winstead PC to launch its Houston shop, while tax partner Bryan Kelly, managing director of the firm’s Los Angeles base, left for Willkie Farr and Gallagher in February. 

It also emerged in January that highly regarded litigator Rita Ku had left Withers’ Hong Kong office after more than 11 years to set up her own family law boutique, taking a trio of associates with her. Sharon Ser, long-time Withers partner and head of the firm’s family law practice, has subsequently moved over to the new firm.  

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