Allen & Overy has made a senior professional support lawyer a partner for the first time, as part of its recent promotion of 40 associates to partner status.
The move is believed to be the first of its kind among the major City firms.
Pauline Harrison, who is head of banking practice development in London, will take up the post on 16 May.
Harrison has more than 10 years of finance transaction background, having qualified as a solicitor in 1987.
In 1996, she was appointed head of banking practice development, where she took on the key role of improving banking know-how and developing leading-edge expertise in finance documentation.
Over the past year, she has represented the firm on the Legal Forum and Documentation Committee of the Loan Market Association (LMA). She is also instrumental in the launch and development of the firm's online 'newchange dealroom' documents.
She says: “I was extremely delighted by the appointment. It is very exciting. It is a very important development for the firm too and obviously reflects the importance Allen & Overy attaches to documentation and know-how.”
Philip Wood, head of banking practice and head of know-how and education at A&O, says: “Allen & Overy is recognised as producing the most user-friendly, 'plain English' and commercially focused documentation in the market. Pauline's appointment is a recognition of the key role she has played in establishing this reputation.
“Pauline's promotion ensures the firm invests in its reputation as market leaders in documentation and know-how.”
Yvonne Smyth, divisional director of recruitment consultants ZMB, says: “I think this is fantastic news and I think we can expect to see this example being followed by others in future.