Watson Burton plugs leadership vacancy

Watson Burton has named veteran corporate head Gillian Hall as its new senior partner following a two-month period when the firm had no clear leader.

Hall, who joined the firm in 1988 and has headed the corporate practice for 18 years, was elected following an uncontested election.

The firm had been without a leader since former senior partner Rob Langley stood down in April to joinorth East rivals Muckle.

Watson Burton has been hit by several departures in recent months, including insolvency chief Andrew Cawkwell and wealth management head Keith Hately. Hall will be tasked with turning the firm’s fortunes around after fee income fell by about £3m and gross profits fell 73 per cent in the 2008-09 financial year.

“The past year has not been an easy time for our firm or the legal sector generally,” Hall admitted. “Despite this, Watson Burton continues to benefit from a strong, cohesive team of highly skilled lawyers and support staff who have the ­enthusiasm and expertise to drive the firm forward.

“I’m looking forward to the exciting years ahead as senior partner of an ­outstanding, distinctive firm.”