Slaughter and May elects first female leader

Partners at Slaughter and May have elected their former disputes head as the firm’s first female leader.

Deborah Finkler has been appointed to the newly created role of managing partner, which she will take up on 1 May 2022. Finkler is the first female leader in the history of the firm, which was founded in London in 1889.

Slaughters is the latest Magic Circle firm to elect a female leader for the first time, following the election of Georgia Dawson as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s senior partner last year and the election of Aedamar Comiskey as Linklaters’ senior partner in May.

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In June, Slaughters said it would restructure its executive team, appointing a managing partner for the first time to run the firm alongside senior partner Steve Cooke.

The firm is scrapping the positions of practice partner and executive partner, with the current postholders David Wittmann and Paul Stacey set to retire.

The firm is also planning on hiring a chief operating officer to handle some of the managerial and operational aspects of the executive partner’s role. The process to appoint a COO is ongoing.

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Finkler joined Slaughter and May in 1986 and became a partner in 1991. She focuses on banking, commercial litigation, and regulatory investigation. Clients she has worked for include Santander, JPMorgan and WPP.

“[Finkler’s] reputation as a practitioner is outstanding and she combines this experience with great knowledge of the firm from her time as head of our disputes and investigations group and as a previous member of the partnership board. These were roles to which she brought great drive and integrity and make her ideally equipped to be the firm’s first managing partner,” Cooke said.

“The creation of the managing partner role marks a significant change for the firm. It is an exciting challenge for me, and I am grateful for the support of my partners as I step up,” Finkler said.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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