Links’ new Cheyne gang

Linklaters is gearing up for a three-way international bun fight to replace senior partner David Cheyne, although cynics may have a thing or two to say about just how international the battle will be.

The denizens of Silk Street could find themselves with the City’s first Antwerp-based overlord if current European managing partner Jean-Pierre Blumberg can see off the challenges of global banking and litigation chiefs Robert Elliott and John Turnbull (see story).

Should be easy enough. Because what Blumberg’s nomination absolutely isn’t is a nod to tokenism on behalf of those pesky overseas partners who feel they should have some say in how the firm is run.

We know that’s not what it’s about, because Linklaters partners say so. So there, cynics.

Of course, A&O and Freshfields have lived happily with the concept of senior management coming from beyond the shores of Albion for some time, and they seem to have done all right. And Clifford Chance recently saw German partner Daniela Weber-Rey give Malcolm Sweeting a run for his money when he took the senior partner job over at the Wharf (8 November 2010).

But Links has always been more of a traditional beast than its magic circle compadres. A foreign name on the ballot paper might be a sign of changing times.

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