Gowling WLG announces international board as merger goes live

Gowling WLG has officially launched today (22 February), sealing the announcement by naming the firm’s international board.

The merger between Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co and Canadian firm Gowlings was announced last July but senior management, up until now, have failed to reveal who will sit on the new firm’s six-member board.

Wragges chief executive David Fennell will be Gowling WLG’s co-CEO while Andrew Witts will continue to work as the firm’s chairman. The duo will be joined by Jenny Hardy who will continue in her position of strategic development director.

The remainder of the board will consist of legacy Gowlings’ partners. Peter Lukasiewicz will sit opposite Fennell as co-CEO while James Buchan will work as the firm’s external managing partner. Buchan was previously Gowlings’ managing partner.

Scott Jolliffe will fill the final place on the board as a partner within the firm. Jolliffe recently stepped down from his role as Gowlings’ chair and CEO and was replaced by Lukasiewicz. Jolliffe led Gowlings for 20 years and will continue to work within the new firm’s litigation practice.

In a statement Lukasiewicz said that Gowlings WLG was planning to add “like-minded firms to the combination in the near future”.

Speaking to The Lawyer Witts said: “We’re very interested in looking in Germany and in South East Asia. In fact, going back to the Wragge & Co and Lawrence Graham merger a Germany combination was one of the strategic objectives. That hasn’t changed as a result of the combination with Gowlings.”

Witts was unable to comment on whether Gowling WLG was currently in merger talks with any firms in these regions.

Partners looking to leave the firm will not be subject to any additional lock-in arrangement as part of the merger deal. Witts stated it was “business as usual on that front” and that partners would be subject to the same arrangements as before the combination went live.

The merger has created a £400m firm with over 1,400 legal professionals working across 18 cities. The new firm will focus on four key sectors: advanced manufacturing; energy and natural resources; technology; and life sciences.

The firm is also attempting to create a strong foundation around its international intellectual property practice. Gowling WLG recently announced it had struck a deal with Weetabix to advise the company on its global IP work.