SJ Berwin puts the wheels in motion to find senior partner

SJ Berwin puts the wheels in motion to find senior partner” />SJ Berwin has begun the process of replacing long-standing senior partner David Harrel, with five partners emerging as early potentials to fill the role, The Lawyer can reveal.

It is understood that the firm is in the early stages of the race, with Harrel in consultation with the firm’s partnership over potential nominees, the election process and the future structure of the senior partner role.

Likely contenders for the post span a range of practice areas, and all hold management positions. Nominees include managing partner Ralph Cohen, head of private equity Jonathan Blake and EU and competition head Stephen Kon.

Two other partners are also understood to be interested in the role; however, a comprehensive list of nominees has not yet been drafted and at this stage partners can still put their own name forward or be nominated by a colleague.

Harrel said the election process would not be formalised until after the summer break. But an election is likely to take place in Sept-ember if more than one candidate emerges, as the firm’s limited-liability partnership agreement requires the seniorpartner role to be endorsed by the full partnership.

A hugely popular senior partner, Harrel flagged up his intention to stand down from his 13-year tenure last year, using the firm’s move to its new offices at 10 Queens Street Place later this year as a marker for the change.

In the lead-up to his retirement, he has initiated a review of the firm’s management structure and implemented a range of new processes, including the inaugural vote for the firm’s strategy committee, which took place in January.

The firm has a deadline of December to choose a successor, although it is hoped a decision will be made as early as September.