Ashurst appoints London partner as sole global general counsel in shift from shared role

Ashurst has appointed London dispute resolution partner Angela Pearson as its sole global general counsel, replacing the firm’s current co-GC setup.

The role is currently shared by co-GCs John Field and Chris Vigrass, who were appointed in November 2016.

Vigrass, who has been a partner at Ashurst for more than 20 years and was previously director of risk management, is based in London, while Melbourne banking and finance partner Field has served as the firm’s GC in Australia. Field will continue to serve as a consultant at the firm.

Pearson, meanwhile, who leads the firm’s global anti-bribery and corruption team, joined the firm in 1993 and made partner in 2006. She was appointed to the board in 2014 and has previously served on the firm’s remuneration committee. Her appointment will take effect on 1 May.

Ashurst managing partner Paul Jenkins said: “Angela is ideally suited to this role, given her experience as a general commercial litigator and in advising companies and financial institutions on complex compliance and regulatory issues relating to bribery and corruption, money laundering, fraud, modern slavery, cybersecurity and restraint of trade.”

The appointment comes after Ashurst recently introduced new bonus criteria, following a review that saw the firm expand eligibility for awards to all staff. The changes will see the firm place more of a focus on fee-earner performance, as opposed to chargeable hours.

Other recent general counsel appointments at UK top 50 firms include Irwin Mitchell’s hire earlier this year of its first ever GC, Bruce Macmillan.

Macmillan joined from RPC, where he has founded the firm’s Centre for Legal Leadership, a coaching and mentoring service for in-house lawyers.