Francies wins place on Weil Gotshal committee

Weil Gotshal & Manges has elected Mike Francies to its management committee, after the shock departure of Maurice Allen.

The appointment to the 13-member committee will cement Francies' position as head of the firm's London office, a role he previously shared with office founder Allen who quit the firm on 28 January (The Lawyer, 31 January).

The management committee is responsible for matters such as setting budgets and the business plan, recommending new offices and the nomination of partners.

Francies says his appointment was a smooth process.

“I was proposed, it was voted on and that was it,” he says.

Allen had been on the committee since January last year, before which his fellow departee, former managing partner Nick Holt, was the London representative.

Francies joined Weil Gotshal in 1998 to head the London corporate practice and became co-head of the office early last year.

Like Allen and Holt, Francies is an ex-Clifford Chance partner, but it is understood that his arrival owed as much to his links with Weil Gotshal in the US, as his relationship with the other two senior London partners.

One source describes Francies as personable but also “a machine” who bills a huge number of hours.

In the US, Weil Gotshal is a typically tough New York corporate firm whose management is said to have identified with Francies' formidable work rate more than it did with Allen's role as a client relationship banking partner.

Allen also fell out with New York over the slow pace of the firm's European expansion plans.

The firm has also been rocked by the departures of banking partners Martin Hughes and Rachel Hatfield.

The group was recently talking to a number of UK and US firms regarding expansion, including Ashurst Morris Crisp and Latham & Watkins, all of which are involved in merger discussions.