Paul Johnston has been appointed as the new chairman of Richards Butler. Johnston takes over from Andrew Taylor, who has reached the end of his second term of office and is standing down.
Johnston, who will continue as a partner in the real estate department is a member of the partnership board. The firm will now elect another partner to the board. Johnston joined Richards Butler in 1982 and became a partner in 1988.
Roger Parker will continue as managing partner and be responsible for the day-to-day running of the firm.
Johnston said: "I'm fortunate to be taking over the reins and partnership board from Andrew, who together with Roger Parker has helped to develop a forward-thinking and ambitious firm ready for the challenges of today's legal marketplace."
He takes over at a crucial time for the firm, following the collapse of its latest round of merger talks with US firm Proskauer Rose. The firm will continue to pursue its transatlantic strategy.
Richards Butler's profit per equity partner rose 10.8 per cent last year from £415,000 to £460,000 on the back of a number of de-equitisations. Gross fees crept up just 2.3 per cent to £89m.
Taylor will return to fee-earning in the shipping practice.