DLA names new Manchester and Liverpool managing partners

DLA Piper has appointed finance and projects partner Liam Cowell as its new Manchester office head, following the decision of incumbent David Gray to step down at the end of the year.

david gray dla piper
David Gray

Gray will continue to lead the firm’s UK litigation and regulatory group when he hands over to Cowell on 31 December after four years as Manchester managing partner.

In a statement, Gray said he felt it was time to pass the business onto his successor, adding: “Our business in Manchester is in great shape and I am delighted to hand over to Liam at the end of this year. Liam has 20 years’ experience with DLA Piper and will continue to drive our Manchester business forwards.”

According to the firm’s LLP filings there have been nine departures from the partnership in Manchester since the beginning of the year, and 61 from DLA Piper International LLP in total so far this year.

The firm currently operates out of two neighbouring offices in Manchester, both of which it has been reported have leases due to expire in the next three years. The firm refused to confirm this but a spokesperson said it was committed to Manchester and said property requirements are reviewed regularly.

The latest partner to leave was restructuring lawyer John Vickery, who is due to take up his new role as a partner at Irwin Mitchell in Manchester on 5 August.

Irwin Mitchell also hired DLA Piper’s Manchester head of real estate Anita Weightman and former local managing partner Roy Beckett along with two other commercial property partners and a team of 10 lawyers and support staff (16 January 2013).

Partner Stuart Campbell left to launch TLT in Manchester along with colleague Emma Flower, and later IP disputes specialist Graeme Orchison (20 June 2013).

Hill Dickinson has also benefitted from DLA’s restructuring in the north-west, acquiring the firm’s Sheffield and Manchester insurance hubs earlier this year (28 January 2013).

On 31 July Liverpool managing partner Philip Rooney will stand down to return to fee-earning and will be replaced by employment partner Ben Miller on 1 August.

According to the firm, office managing partner roles are not elected and have no fixed tenure. In a statement, the firm said both Gray and Rooney elected to stand down and have been involved in the selection of their successors, both of whom qualified at DLA. Cowell was made up to partner in 2004 and Miller in 2003.