Norton Rose Fulbright elects first female EMEA chair

Norton Rose Fulbright’s partnership has elected Islamic finance head Farmida Bi as its new chair for Europe Middle East and Asia (EMEA), making her the first woman in the firm’s history to hold the role.

London-based Bi will replace current chair Stephen Parish on 1 May, when he steps down from the role after a three-year term.

Bi, who has also been appointed for a three-year term, is currently a partner in the firm’s banking and finance team.

Her new position will involve helping the firm meet its strategy goals and supporting the firm’s international clients and practices.

Norton Rose EMEA managing partner Martin Scott said: “On behalf of the partnership, I would like to congratulate Farmida Bi on her election and thank Stephen Parish for his significant contribution to the development of the firm’s vision.

“Farmida’s knowledge and extensive experience of working within the global banking and finance industry will be invaluable to her role. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Farmida as part of the Norton Rose Fulbright global leadership team.”

Bi added: “I am privileged to be the first female partner to become chair at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. Following on from Stephen, and all that he has done for our business, is a great honour. I look forward to working with my talented colleagues around the world, building on our successes and the continued investment in our clients and people.”

Before joining Norton Rose in 2008, Bi was a partner at legacy Denton Wilde Sapte. She also previously worked for Clifford Chance as an associate and as legal counsel for JP Morgan.

In a 2014 Dealmaker interview, the Pakistan-born lawyer told Legal Week that the most memorable deal she had ever worked on was advising the Pakistani Government on its debut bond issue. “It felt like I was making a difference, helping the country to access the international capital markets,” she said.

Parish, meanwhile, joined Norton Rose in 1974 and has held a series of management roles, including global head of banking.

In December, Norton Rose appointed Tricia Hobson as the firm’s first female global chair, also replacing Parish. Hobson has been a partner with the firm for 10 years, joining legacy firm Deacons in 2007 prior to its 2010 merger with Norton Rose.