A move for O’Shea, a bigger move for Simpson Thacher

This week the London office of Simpson Thacher is celebrating the return of one of its highest-flying finance partners, Sinead O’Shea, who is rejoining the City office after a six-year spell in Hong Kong.

O’Shea, a partner in Simpson’s corporate department, has acted for core clients such as Blackstone and KKR along with JPMorgan, MMI Holdings and Citigroup Capital Partners. So far, so usual.

What Simpson partners are never going to say explicitly, but certainly believe, is that O’Shea’s return to London is a bonus not just to its finance practice but also to its currently parlous gender diversity stats in the City. As we reported earlier this year, the City offices of the world’s leading international firms in London continue to be dominated by men, with women representing just 17.6 per cent of UK partners in the top 30 largest firms ranked by revenue.

And how many of Simpson’s 15 partners in its City office are female? Until this week, none. Not any more. Now the absence of women has been addressed and there is at least a nod to rebalancing the practice as well as having a female role model for the firm’s women associates.

Now there is only one major US firm in the top 30 with an all-male London partnership. Step forward (or maybe not) Davis Polk & Wardwell.

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