Clydes names Burns as successor to long-serving senior partner Payton

Clyde & Co has appointed insurance litigation partner James Burns to take over as senior partner when Michael Payton retires this October after 29 years in the role.

Burns, who stood in an uncontested election, will act as senior partner elect until formally taking the role on 1 November 2013, when Payton will move into the newly created role of chairman of the firm.

Burns, who first joined Clyde & Co in 1989 and was elected to partner in 1998, is already a member of the firm’s global management board, and has taken a prominent role in the implementation of the firm’s entry and expansion in the US, Canada and Australia, as well as the merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in November 2011.

Last November Legal Week named Burns and fellow board member Ben Knowles as partners expected to stand.

“There is no doubt James is the right choice and will do an admirable job,” commented Payton.

“My goal is to build on the success the firm has achieved during Michael Payton’s tenure as leader,” said Burns (pictured). “Together with the global management board and our management team, my intent is to provide the continuity, stability and strong leadership that has characterised the firm’s management approach over many years.”

Clyde & Co said Burns had unanimous support and endorsement from the board, and “strong support from across the partnership”.

Fellow insurance litigation partner and board member Simon Konsta said: “I have known James for many years and he has my full support. It is a testament to James’ contribution to and standing in the firm that he has been elected and I have no doubt that he will continue to build on the success that the firm has achieved.

“Over the past three years James and I have worked closely together as part of the firm’s management board and I have great respect for the way in which he has driven forward our strategy and for his undoubted commitment to Clyde & Co,” said Knowles. “James has the board and firm solidly behind him.”

Payton is currently in the final year of his sixth term. He first took up the senior partner position in 1984 when Clydes had 16 partners and a turnover of £6m. The firm now has nearly 300 partners and revenues of almost £287m.