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Pinsent Curtis has elected Birmingham head of tax David Ryan to the new post of national managing partner.
Ryan joined Pinsent & Co in 1990 from City practice Freshfields. He was made head of tax in 1997 two years after the firm's merger with Simpson Curtis.
The 134-partner practice is still deciding who will replace Ryan. His opponent in the election was Carl Garvie, the head of litigation in the Birmingham office.
A spokesman says: "It is absolutely certain Garvie will stay with firm."
The elections are part of a restructuring programme to transform the firm from a regional practice into a national one.
Ryan will sit on a management board with finance director Stephen Hancock and three non-elected executive partners. Elections for the position of senior partner and regional managing partners will be held this week.