Freshfields assigns associate to advise top brass

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has taken the ­radical step of appointing an associate-level adviser to augment its new senior management team.

Corporate senior associate Kate Burns has been appointed to the position on a permanent basis. She will work alongside senior partner Will Lawes, managing partner Ted Burke and executive partner Stephan Eilers.

Burns, who was in The Lawyer’s ’New Faces’ feature last year, will advise the leadership trio on ­strategic and project issues.

The move echoes one taken by the London corporate department three years ago, which saw a series of associates, including Burns, join the management team on rolling six-month secondments. Mark Rawlinson brought in the role when he became London corporate chief in 2008 and it is understood that the scheme exceeded expectations in terms of providing a conduit between the junior and senior elements of the practice.

Burke said: “Kate did an excellent job in the ­corporate role, so she was a natural choice for us.”

The post was created to help management continue to undertake client work. After Lawes’ election as senior partner, the firm vowed that all management figures would spend 50 per cent of their time fee-earning.

Burke said: “This is a new role that will help the ­management team balance their internal priorities while continuing to maintain close contact with clients.

“We tend to run things very leanly and Kate will help us with special projects as well as to balance our commitments.”

Burns will stop her regular fee-earning role to work full time supporting the senior management.