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Wragge & Co will appoint its first female managing partner from the beginning of next year when Nicola Mumford takes over from Paul Howard as head of the London office.
Mumford, a senior dispute resolution specialist, was the natural choice to manage the seven-year-old office in the capital.
"She's very London-centric and has spent more time in London in recent years," explained the firm's senior partner Quentin Poole.
However, Mumford has spent most of her career in Birmingham, said Poole, which should help forge a good interface between the two offices.
Poole said Mumford will take the office into its next phase of development. "Paul's job was to get the infrastructure established; Nicola's will be more outward-facing, with more client contact," he stated. Howard has run the Waterhouse Square office, which resulted from the merger with Needham & Grant, since 2003. Under his leadership the number of staff trebled to 158, it established a full-service offering and will now provide its first pure London-based training contract (The Lawyer, 10 December).
Howard will retire from the partnership at the end of the financial year and is expected to take up a new part-time consultancy role at the firm alongside "one or two opportunities in business", he suggested.