News that former Linklaters chief Tony Angel is set to join DLA Piper as senior partner sent shockwaves through the market when it was revealed on TheLawyer.com last week (26 October).
But opinion is split over whether Angel’s presence can radically transform DLA Piper or whether the move represents a trophy hire for the rapidly growing firm.
“It’s a signature hire, but I’m not sure what’s in it for either of them,” said one firm leader. “Angel was successful at Linklaters, but he’s since moved on and the legal profession’s gone through a lot of change since then.
“In a way DLA Piper is more of a global business than Linklaters ever was, so I’m not sure what experience he’ll bring.”
That said, Tony Williams, principal at Jomati Consultants and a former Clifford Chance managing partner who went on to run Anderson Legal in 2000, sees sense in the move.
“Tony did a good job at Linklaters; he gave them clear goals and ambitions,” Williams said. “I think it’s much more than a nominal role he’s been given, and the timing’s good too. There’s much more scope to reposition a firm in a flat market than in a bull market.”
A recruiter close to DLA Piper agreed, saying: “I think Tony’s hire will attract some big names, but it’s difficult to see how one man can transform a firm.”
Angel, who is believed to have been offered around £2m a year to join the firm, will begin at DLA Piper in early November following a two-week voting period.
DLA Piper declined to comment.