Voting has opened in the Linklaters senior partner election, with insiders suggesting the race will be much closer than was initially thought.
The three candidates – European managing partner Jean-Pierre Blumberg, global head of banking Robert Elliott and litigation chief John Turnbull – gave presentations at the firm’s partner conference in Paris over the course of last weekend, with the strength of Blumberg’s candidacy surprising many partners.
While the Belgian is still very much viewed as the outsider of the three, it is understood that his manifesto could have swayed several voters.
One partner said: “Jean-Pierre is far less well known around the firm, but he put in a very impressive account of himself and whatever the outcome, people have recognised that.”
It is understood that Blumberg spoke about introducing more flexibility to Linklaters’ lockstep, echoing many partners’ concerns about moving further towards an all-equity structure.
The senior partner will be elected using a single transferable vote system in which partners rank the candidates in order of preference. One partner told The Lawyer that he had moved Blumberg up to be his second choice following the presentations.
Voting will close in early May to allow the firms’ new partners to take part in the process, with a result expected shortly afterwards.