Lagerlöf & Leman former chief quits for Pinsents alliance firm

Former Lagerlöf & Leman managing partner has quit to head Pinsent Curtis’ new alliance partner Magnusson Wahlin.

Claes Soderstrom, who had been with Linklaters & Alliance’s Swedish member firm since 1979, joins as managing partner.

Magnusson Wahlin is one of Sweden’s leading practices. Pinsents first worked with the firm in 1995 through an informal international network. But both have decided to take their relationship one step further. The alliance will include secondments, both at partner level and below, as well as client referrals and the alignment of IT systems.

Neither firm has ruled out a possible merger and hope to tackle the lucrative German market together. Pinsents, in particular, wants to bolster its private equity practice and take advantage of Sweden’s lucrative technology market.

The appointment of Soderstrom is a coup for Magnusson Wahlin. The leading tax practitioner decided to retire from Lagerlöfs in September to concentrate full-time on management. He was managing partner at the firm between 1990 and 1995.

He denies that his age, 58, was the reason for quitting prior to Lagerlöf’s merger with Linklaters in the new year. Attempting to establish a unified retirement age is one of the issues being tackled by the Alliance’s merger committee (The Lawyer, 28 February).

But he adds: “There are no old lawyers in normal City firms. You could count them on the fingers of one hand. The profession has turned into an industry earlier in the UK than it has on the Continent.”

The alliance was set up by Pinsents corporate partner Jeremy Phillips. He says: “A number of our private equity clients have set up Nordic desks, including UBS and Bridgepoint. The trend towards public-to-private private equity deals is really just something that is getting started in Sweden.”