Slaughter and May has appointed Deborah Finkler (pictured) as its first ever managing partner following an overhaul of its management structure.
Finkler will take up the new role on 1 May 2022, following the planned retirements of practice partner David Wittman and executive partner Paul Stacey.
The managing partner role, along with a new chief operating officer (COO) position, will replace the roles of practice partner and executive partner. M&A lawyer, Steve Cooke, will remain as senior partner.
Finkler has been with the firm for 35 years and became a partner in 1991. She is one of the UK’s leading commercial litigators, described in Chambers UK 2020 as “vastly experienced” and a “fabulous” lawyer.
She specialises in banking and commercial litigation, as well as regulatory investigation, and has acted for financial institutions such as TSB, Standard Chartered Bank and JP Morgan Chase Bank.
In a statement announcing the appointment, Cooke said: “[Finkler’s] reputation as a practitioner is outstanding and she combines this experience with great knowledge of the firm from her time as head of our disputes and investigations group and as a previous member of the partnership board.
“These were roles to which she brought great drive and integrity and make her ideally equipped to be the firm’s first managing partner.”
Finkler commented: “The creation of the managing partner role marks a significant change for the firm. It is an exciting challenge for me, and I am grateful for the support of my partners as I step up.
“I am looking forward to shaping the role of and hiring the COO over the coming months, but my focus will remain on fee earning work until I begin a handover period with David and Paul early next year.”