Former Linklaters chief Tony Angel set to join DLA Piper in top role

DLA Piper is set to hire former Linklaters managing partner Tony Angel as co-global chairman and senior partner of its business outside of the US.

Angel (pictured) is set to join DLA on 7 November following a two-week partnership vote.

If the move is approved, Angel will become co-chair of the entire firm alongside Frank Burch and senior partner of DLA Piper International, which covers DLA’s operations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Burch has to date been sole chair of the firm. Angel will take over the senior partner role from London partner Janet Legrand, who will retain her position on the firm board.

Angel was managing partner at Linklaters between 1998 and 2008 during a 30-year stint at the magic circle firm that saw him become a partner in 1984 and head of tax in 1994.

During his tenure as managing partner he helped transform Linklaters into a leading global player and instituted an aggressive drive to boost individual partner performance and align the firm’s business around premium work for a tighter group of bluechip clients. He was succeeded as managing partner by Simon Davies.

Following his departure from the magic circle firm he joined Standard & Poor’s as executive managing director and head of the credit ratings agency’s EMEA operations.

He went on to become chief executive of healthcare technology group Vantage Diagnostics, and earlier this year took up a non-executive director post with rival UK law firm SJ Berwin.

Former Linklaters partner Alec Burnside, now a partner with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft in Brussels, commented: “Tony is a man of great energy and vision. This is certainly a coup for DLA.”

DLA Piper’s current joint chief executive and managing partner, Sir Nigel Knowles, is up for re-election at the end of this year. Knowles, who has headed up DLA since 1996, intends to stand for an additional term at the helm of the firm.

Under Knowles’ leadership the firm has seen significant expansion both in the City and internationally through ventures including the transatlantic tri-partite merger with Piper Rudnick and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich at the beginning of 2005.

DLA Piper employs more than 4,000 lawyers across 30 countries, with global revenues approaching $2bn in 2010. The international partnership posted revenues of £604.9m against profits per equity partner of £563,900 for the 2010-11 financial year.

Partners in DLA International are currently being consulted on plans that are set to see the firm axe its fixed-share partnership ranks in favour of an all-equity model.

Both Angel and DLA Piper declined to comment.

Click here for a Legal Week interview with Tony Angel from 2009.