Hot 100: Simon Beswick, Osborne Clarke

Few firms boosted their reputation in 2012 quite like Osborne Clarke.

Simon Beswick

It merged with its Spanish and Italian alliance members, dismantled its European alliance network, brought in more London partners through its accelerated lateral hiring programme and announced plans to open its own offices in Paris and Brussels. Its failed merger talks with Field Fisher Waterhouse were no blight on the year; they served to show both how sought after the firm is and to demonstrate its expansive mentality.

At the helm of the projects right through was CEO Simon Beswick, who has gone from being a mid-market corporate star spearheading the firm’s Palo Alto and London presences to one of the most respected law firm leaders in the business. As one close colleague comments, Beswick has retained “dynamism and energy on the one hand with resilience, focus and determination on the other,” creating a balance that has enabled the firm to thrive on all fronts.

He has also driven through the firm’s sector approach, which he says is central to its strategy. “I subscribe to the view that the mid-market will be challenged from above and below and from the client demand for greater value, whilst at the same time be capable of assisting them internationally as well as domestically,” Beswick says. “To continue to be successful given that background, we need to push more into the upper mid-market and become more international. We are looking to do that by being famous for the advisory, litigation and transactional work we are doing for clients in a limited number of industry sectors.”

Beswick, who lives in Bristol but spends several days a week in the London office, says 2013 will be just as busy. When the dust settles following the current wave of consolidation, and given the firm’s aims to expand in the City, Beswick could find himself negotiating a merger again next year.