Knight steps down as senior partner

Simmons & Simmons’ senior partner is stepping down as the race begins to find his successor. Bill Knight, who has been with the firm for 35 years, is due to complete his five-year term in September next year but has opted for early retirement. The firm’s current retirement age is 65.

Knight says it is likely he will take on a non-executive position with a company, and he is on the board of governors at a couple of state schools.

Soundings on which lawyer will replace Knight are expected to begin in February next year before the formal voting process begins. However, one source says that the subject is a hot topic at the firm, with a handful of names already beginning to emerge as potential frontrunners.

One source close to the firm says that head of corporate finance Stuart Evans is a potential candidate, although litigation partner Philip Vaughan is the favourite to take over the role.