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Slaughter and May’s high-profile competition partner Laura Carstensen, one of the key figures on the firm’s work-life balance committee, is quitting the firm, the City and the law.
Carstensen is one of the key figures on the Slaughters’ group dubbed the ‘Lifestyle Committee’, which looks at work-life balance and working practices that might block diversity and gender equality.
Carstensen said: “I want more flexibility and diversity in my working life and in addition there are many things I want to try my hand at outside City law.”
In a recent survey by The Lawyer’s sister title Lawyer 2B, Slaughters was the only top 20 firm to have a fully-implemented diversity policy.
Carstensen is one of the real stars in Slaughters’ competition practice. This year, she advised key players on both the Carlton-Granada merger and the battle for Safeway.
Her departure is a blow to the firm, but Slaughters has strength in depth in its competition practice, in-cluding head of the group Malcolm Nicholson, partner Philippe Chappatte and younger partner Bertrand Louveaux.
Nicholson said: “[Laura] is a fine competition lawyer, but the group will continue to thrive.”
Carstensen was viewed by many inside and outside the firm as a likely successor to 54-year-old Nicholson. At Slaughters, heads of group are elected and Carstensen was very popular inside the competition practice.
Contenders for head of the group are now Chappatte or possibly Brussels partner John Boyce.