Linklaters parachutes in London corporate partner to head up firm’s US business

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Linklaters corporate partner Tom Shropshire has been appointed to lead the firm’s US practice, as current incumbent Scott Bowie retires just two years into a four-year leadership term, becoming the third partner exit to emerge at the firm’s New York office this month.

Shropshire, a US corporate specialist, has been at the firm for almost 20 years, making partner in 2006. He currently co-leads the firm’s operational intelligence group, a multidisciplinary team that helps clients deal with risk, regulatory and governance issues. He also sat on the firm’s international board from 2011 to 2014.

As head of the firm’s global US practice, he will split his time between London and New York, while continuing to work with clients. He will also take Bowie’s seat on the magic circle firm’s executive committee.

Bowie, who is retiring from the firm with immediate effect, was appointed to the newly created role of global US head in 2015 for a four-year term. Between 2010 and 2015 he was head of the firm’s investment management group, having joined the firm in 2005 from Latham & Watkins.

Speaking to Legal Week, Shropshire said that during the course of his four-year term, the firm would look to strengthen its US capabilities.

“We need to ensure we have really high quality energetic US lawyers in our important financial centres – that includes New York, Washington DC, Paris and London – and we need to make sure we continue to strengthen our offering in the States in areas we think we can make a difference for our clients,” he said.

In terms of targets for growth, Shropshire said: “We continue to be focused on dispute resolution, corporate, making that a strong offering. We are still focused on banking and restructuring and capital markets work. We are looking to make sure we bring in people that will be accretive to the overall performance of the business.”

In 2015, he was one of six partners shortlisted for the firmwide managing partner job, eventually losing out to Gideon Moore. He is also one of the most well-known black lawyers in London and last year was recognised on the Powerlist, an annual publication that profiles some of Britain’s most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage.

One Linklaters partner described Shropshire as a “very impressive guy” adding: “It’s a pity from a non-management perspective to take someone like him to spend more time on management and less time on the client stuff.”

Key roles Shropshire has taken in recent years have included advising engineering company Amec on its £1.9bn acquisition of Foster Wheeler in 2014, while he also advised the banks underwriting Standard Chartered’s £3.3bn rights issue in 2015.

Managing partner Moore commented: “Tom is ideally placed to take our global US practice forward. He has a unique mix of legal and commercial skills and I am confident that he will do a tremendous job ensuring we continue to build and retain a best-in-class global US practice.”

Shropshire’s appointment and news of Bowie’s exit come after several senior exits from Linklaters’ US practice. Last week, former US co-managing partner Jeff Norton left to join Dechert in New York, while fellow New York banking partner Sabrena Silver left to join White & Case. Other recent US exits include Washington DC tax partner Jasper Howard, who left in February for Hogan Lovells.

However, the firm recently appointed litigator Matthew Axelrod from the US Department of Justice in Washington DC, having recruited ex-Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft partner Adam Lurie to head its litigation and government investigations practice in Washington DC last year.