McDermott names City chief Nineham as Europe head after strategy review

Hugh Nineham, McDermott Will & Emery’s London head, has been given a new role leading the US firm’s European practice as part of a firmwide strategic review.

The position will involve Nineham taking a seat on McDermott’s firmwide executive committee, which oversees global strategy.

The appointment is the first time the firm has had a region-wide head for Europe.

The new role is one of a number of changes to come into effect this month as a result of a strategy review carried out last year, with McDermott hoping it will bring greater integration and profitability as well as further growth in the region.

New firmwide co-chairs, litigators Jeffrey Stone and Peter Sacripanti, have been reviewing McDermott’s strategy since being appointed to their new positions last April. The pair officially took over on 1 January when predecessor Harvey Freishtat stepped down.

Other changes see the firm reorganised around four main business units – controversies; regulatory and governmental affairs; tax; and transactions.

Each unit is headed by a management representative who will sit on the executive committee.

Nineham told Legal Week: “It is a new move for the firm to have someone sitting on the executive committee who has specific European responsibilities. The move will help us to focus on the region in terms of firmwide integration, profitability and growth.”

The four business unit heads are: Washington DC-based litigator Peg Warner, who runs controversies, Ray Jacobsen, who takes charge of regulatory and governmental affairs and is also based in Washington, Chicago partner Mike Fayhee, who heads up tax and corporate partner Mike Anthony, who leads the transactions unit.

Earlier this month McDermott announced it was moving away from associate lockstep and introducing a merit-based pay system for its US associates. By next year, associates and senior associates will be placed in one of three pay levels based on the skills they have achieved and business experience.

The London office is expected to adopt this model in the long term, but there are no immediate plans to change its pay model.

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