Ashurst private equity head Charlie Geffen and litigation partner Ed Sparrow are formally competing to replace Geoffrey Green as senior partner.
Geffen (pictured) and Sparrow are both long-standing members of the firm's management committee and have been expected to stand for the senior partner role for several months.
Candidate nominations for the election followed Green’s announcement that he would stand down as senior partner by the end of this year in order to relocate to Hong Kong in February to spearhead Ashurst's Asian expansion (as reported by The Lawyer, 4 August).
The vote is set to close on 22 September.
Geffen is recognised as one of the top private equity dealmakers at the firm. He started out as a trainee with the firm in 1982 and was made partner in 1991, now leading the firm's rated private equity practice.
Sparrow qualified at Ashurst in 1977 and became partner in 1981, heading up the litigation practice from 1993-2003. He is one of the firm's top litigators, specialising in banking, dispute resolution in the financial instruments sector and fraud.
Geffen counts as his clients many major private equity houses, having recently acted on Apax's £1bn offer for Emap late in 2007, Merlin Entertainment Group and Blackstone on Merlin's £2bn merger with The Tussauds Group (as reported on TheLawyer.com, 5 March), Cinven and Warburg Pincus on the €2.85bn acquisition and combination of Casema and Multikabel in July 2006, and Gala on its £2.18bn acquisition of bookmaking chain Coral Eurobet. (The Lawyer7 October 2005).
In the past Sparrow has acted for Barry O'Brien of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the disciplinary proceedings brought against him in the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal (1 November 2006); Barings Futures (Singapore) in claims against its auditors in connection with the Nick Leeson scandal (9 June 1999); the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on the Rosneft judicial review proceedings (18 July 2006).