Is Dechert copying Baker & McKenzie? The short answer is “no”, though it’s tempting to think so.
The news that Dechert has appointed its first chairman from outside its Philadelphia headquarters (see story) comes only a day after Bakers confirmed it had elected Brazil managing partner Eduardo Leite as its next global chairman (see story).
Whatever the geographical implications of the changes at Dechert, one thing is certain - chairman-elect Andy Levander will have have big boots to fill when he takes over next year from chair of 15 years, Bart Winokur.
Winokur has long been recognised as one of the clearest-thinking, hardest-headed US law firm bosses. As Levander himself puts it: “Under Bart, Dechert’s grown from a primarily regional firm to a top-tier, international firm. We all recognise that he’s led us on this path to success.”
So Levander will be taking over a very different firm from the one Winokur inherited. Which may be the reason why Dechert has decided to split the leadership role and introduce a chief executive in the shape of private equity chair Daniel O’Donnell.