City firm Charles Russell has has taken the unusual step of appointing a private client practitioner as its new managing partner.
Current managing partner Patrick Russell, who is the fourth generation of Russells to work for the 200-year-old firm, steps down in September.
Russell is a sports lawyer. His successor, Grant Howe, is head of the family law department and is currently studying for an MBA to give him a greater understanding of the business side of the practice.
Private client and family business work comprises about a quarter of Charles Russell's workload. The firm is committed to keeping a balance between its commercial and private client sides.
But Russell says that Howe's specialism is not relevant to his new position.
“Grant has run the family practice extremely well. The outside world will always look for difficulties but we consider ourselves to be one firm and one partnership and it doesn't really matter where the managing partner comes from,” says Russell.
Russell decided not to stand for another term as managing partner after nine years of involvement with the firm's management.
He started in the management side as a finance director before becoming joint managing partner with Mike Bennett. He has held the post on his own for the past four years.
But now the conflict between management and client work has persuaded him to step down.
“I love working with clients and I love practising law. Being managing partner is not the easiest of jobs. At the end of a hard day as managing partner I am more tired than I was after a hard day with clients,” he says.