Eight partners to compete in DLA Piper’s first contested senior partner race in a decade

Eight DLA Piper partners have put their names forward to compete for the senior partner role at the firm, following last year’s surprise resignation of former postholder Juan Picon.

The race to replace Picon – who quit the firm in November to join Latham & Watkins – has now begun in earnest after the deadline for partners to confirm an interest in the role closed on Friday (12 January).

The eight partners are: Brussels competition lawyer and board member Bertold Baer-Bouyssiere; international corporate head Bob Bishop; managing director for developing markets Andrew Darwin; Paris employment partner Bijan Eghbal; Madrid corporate partner Inigo Gomez-Jordana; London corporate partner and board member Jon Hayes; London finance partner Charles Morrison; and London intellectual property head Bonella Ramsay.

A number of the partners standing have already held leadership roles at the firm. Darwin has variously been the firm’s chief operating officer, head of its Australia business, head of corporate and UK managing partner, while Canadian Bishop is global co-chair of the firm’s corporate group and co-chair of its M&A practice.

Ramsay, meanwhile, is co-chair of the firm’s global life science sector and co-chair of its leadership alliance for women, while Morrison led the firm’s finance practice until May last year, when he was succeeded by Martin Bartlam.

The election will be a two-stage process, with the first stage, held between 24-26 January, set to narrow the field down to three contenders.

There will then be 10 days of hustings, with the second stage of voting held on 7-9 February.

Both stages of the vote will use the single transferable vote model, with voters ranking candidates in order of preference. The candidate with the least votes will be eliminated and their votes then allocated to the remaining candidates.

The successful candidate will be confirmed as senior partner on 12 February.

Interim senior partner Janet Legrand said: “This is the firm’s first contested election for senior partner in a decade, and we are very fortunate to have such a high level of interest with eight experienced partners who wish to be considered for this important leadership role. This strong group of candidates come from a variety of practice groups and countries that reflect the strength and depth of our international business.”

The winning partner will be senior partner of DLA’s non-US business, and is also likely to be appointed global co-chair alongside co-CEO Simon Levine and the firm’s US management co-chair Roger Meltzer and co-CEO Cameron Jay Rains.

Levine’s term as co-CEO is set to conclude at the end of 2018, which could lead to another contested election this year if a challenger emerges.