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Linklaters managing partner Tony Angel is to step down later this year, prompting a succession race at the magic circle firm.
Linklaters staff were informed of Angel's decision last Friday, as first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (12 January), which leaves the question of succession wide open, although the favourites are capital markets head Nick Eastwell and banking head John Tucker.
The firm's international board will now enter a period of intense consultation with partners and directors in order to nominate a single successor, which will be ratified by a partnership vote.
Angel told The Lawyer that he was proud of the way Linklaters had changed during his tenure. He said: "The firm has transitioned into being a truly global law firm aligned round a common ambition."
However, he also acknowledged some of the difficulties involved. "There have been a number of times where you've got to make difficult calls," he admitted. "Most partnerships are consensus-driven organisations, so you have to push at the envelope a bit."
Angel cited the lockstep system as a key factor in binding the Linklaters partnership. He said: "We've gone through ups and downs, but what's encouraging within a lockstep culture is the benefits that lockstep produces: a common purpose and working for each other."
Angel's term comes to an end on 30 June this year. He is thought to be interested in a job in the public sector, but said that he had no definite options lined up.