Osborne Clarke makes up five as partner quits

Osborne Clarke employment partner Ralf Nathan is leaving the London office to join service provider Centrica, as the downsized Bristol firm promotes five to the partnership.

Nathan joined Osborne Clarke in 1995. He was part of the team that moved with Nicholas Moore from Hill Taylor Dickinson to form Osborne Clarke’s employment pensions and incentives department. Nathan joins Centrica as principal legal counsel reporting to general counsel for Europe Adrian Morris.

Since January 2002, 25 partners have left the firm, many of them managed out as the firm battled with falling profits. Nevertheless, Osborne Clarke has matched the number of assistants it promoted to fixed share partner status in May last year.

Managing partner Leslie Perin, who becomes senior partner on 1 May, said: “I think you can assume that it’s a little bit harder to become a partner at Osborne Clarke now, although it was never easy. The financial justification and ability of practice groups to support partners are really key issues in the process now.”

In London, the new partners are outsourcing specialist Bobby Gill, employment lawyer Victoria Parry and corporate lawyer Jonathan King. Corporate lawyers Daniel Wright and Joachim Breithaupt will be promoted in Bristol and Cologne respectively.

Four fixed-share partners will also be promoted to equity, which is again the same figure as last year. From 1 May, there will be 50 fixed-share partners to 54 equity partners, compared with a 61:63 ratio of fixed share to equity before the departures.

The firm has also voted to replace its management board with a separate strategic body and executive committee.