Macfarlanes rejigs private client arm

Macfarlanes has appointed a new head and promoted three partners for its much-vaunted private client practice with Jonathan Conder taking over the helm from veteran department chief John Rhodes.

The UK trusts and real estate planning specialist, who became a partner in 1995, takes over at the start of next month. Rhodes will continue to practise after stepping down as team head.

Macfarlanes, which last week raised its M&A profile after regular client Pernod Ricard instructed the firm on its £7bn bid for Allied Domecq, remains one of the few major City firms to maintain a substantial private client practice.

The group is currently estimated to bring in 12%-13% of Macfarlanes’ turnover, equivalent to more than £6m a year.

Conder told Legal Week: “There is a world of difference between a firm where you are part of the mainstream [and one where you are not] but size is not important, it is your contribution to the firm.”

In addition to Conder’s appointment, Macfarlanes announced that it is making up three new partners in the practice: Piers Barclay; Helen Darling; and Sebastian Prichard Jones. The appointments take the number of partners in the highly rated private client team to nine.

Commenting on the promotions, Withers’ private client partner Stephen Cooke said: “It does not surprise me that Macfarlanes has made up three partners but that does not indicate a trend in the City. Macfarlanes is an exception to the rule in having a very strong team.”

At the same time, Macfarlanes has announced the promotion of three other partners: Rupert Casey (commercial); Paul Davies (environmental); and Garrett Hayes (corporate).