DLA revamps regional management as Scotland, Manchester heads retire

Managing partner for Edinburgh and Glasgow Bruce Westbrook will retire from the partnership at the end of this year, to be replaced in the role by Scottish corporate head Simon Rae.

Westbrook told The Lawyer that he had informed DLA Piper of his intention to retire two years ago. “I’m now old and grey and gave notice of my intention to step down two years ago,” he said. “There’s been no rush. David Bradley and the board talked to people and made a decision in the third quarter [of this year].

“I’ve known [Simon Rae] for 10 years. He’s savvy, well-respected, well-connected and smart.”

Westbrook, who joined DLA Piper as a partner from Cameron McKenna in 1996 and became office managing partner in 2004, will move to London where he will remain as a consultant at the firm.

“I’ve no plans to work with any other law firm,” he commented.

Rae trained in Scotland and joined DLA Piper in 2004.  Prior to this he spent six years as an associate at Clifford Chance. He will take over from Westbrook on 1 January 2010.

Meanwhile, Manchester head Simon Woolley will retire at the end of this month, to be replaced by David Gray, who is also UK head of the litigation and regulatory group.

Gray, who started his career at DLA Piper 23 years ago, said that he would expect to be able to manage the dual workload.

“I hope it’ll fit together in a straight-forward fashion,” he said. “I didn’t see why without the right support someone shouldn’t be able to do it.”

Woolley commented: “DLA Piper is a great firm and Manchester is a fantastic office. This was not an easy decision, but after 16 years with the firm, and nearly three years as office managing partner, I felt that now’s the time to pursue other business challenges.”

David Bradley, DLA Piper’s UK managing partner, said: “Simon’s leaving us to pursue new business challenges and I know that this decision hasn’t been taken lightly.  I should like to thank Simon for his contribution to the firm, our national finance practice and the Manchester office during his career with us.  I wish him well and every success in the future.”