Former attorney general Peter Goldsmith QC has been named co-managing partner of Debevoise & Plimpton’s London office.
Goldsmith takes on the role today alongside chair of the firm’s tax practice Richard Ward. The pair are taking the reins from previous London head James Scoville, who has stepped down from the management role after eight years.
This is the first time the US firm has elected UK-qualified lawyers to lead its London base. Goldsmith said in a statement that the move reflects the firm’s “commitment to outstanding English law capability in its global contentious and non-contentious practices”.
He added: “We are confident there will be further significant developments under our joint tenure in the quality and scale of the firm’s English law practices from its new Gresham Street offices.”
Goldsmith joined Debevoise & Plimpton in 2007, on the same day that prime minister Tony Blair stepped down. The move came as a shock to the legal community. After six years as the UK Government’s Attorney General, Goldsmith admitted at the time that he was looking forward to a fresh challenge (1 October 2007).
“Taking on this challenge is not about money,” he said at the time. “I see this as a fresh challenge with a firm that’s dedicated to pro bono and public service work, which is very important to me.”
Meanwhile Ward joined the firm in 2004 from Bird & Bird, where he had been a partner since 1993.