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ASHURST Morris Crisp's respected senior partner Andrew Soundy is to retire after seven years in the job.
The two frontrunners to replace Soundy are understood to be corporate partners Geoffrey Green and Roger Finbow, although both have denied throwing their hats into the ring.
Green - head of company commercial - is seen as the more likely candidate. It is thought he was in favour of the failed merger talks with Clifford Chance which took place earlier this year.
Finbow, like Soundy, is contact partner for key Ashursts client Allied Domecq.
Soundy took over the running of the firm in March 1992 and was re-elected for a further five years in October 1993. He was both managing and senior partner until Ian Nisse was appointed managing partner in May 1997. Soundy will stay on until next April but has not decided whether he will retire from the firm altogether.
During his tenure, Ashursts has doubled in size and invested heavily in the UK and overseas. Describing as "complete rubbish" rumours that he was disenchanted with the way Nisse was running the firm, Soundy said he had always been "very supportive" of Nisse.
But he admitted that the firm had to make some "big decisions" over strategy and that it would be for the new management to make them.