Latham global chair retires from two-decade stint in top role

Latham & Watkins global chair and managing partner Robert Dell is to retire from the firm at the end of 2014, after almost 20 years in the role.

Dell will complete the remainder of his fourth consecutive term and will retire in December 2014. An election is scheduled to take place next July, giving time for Dell’s replacement to work with him before officially taking up the top job in January 2015.

A succession committee, chaired by New York head of litigation Miles Ruthberg, has been appointed to oversee the process. The firm did not go into further detail about who was on the committee, but said its members are a ”diverse group of partners” from different offices and practices.

Dell has overseen dramatic change at Latham since taking on the top role in 1995, when the firm had 586 lawyers, 11 offices and revenues of $262m. Latham most recently recorded revenues of $2.2bn, with 2,100 lawyers working across 31 offices.

He initially worked at a litigation boutique in Chicago which was acquired by Latham in 1982. In 1990 he relocated to San Francisco to launch a new office and become its first managing partner, becoming chairman and managing partner of the global firm in 1995.

In a statement Latham’s vice chair Ora Fisher called Dell a “giant of the profession” whose far-sighted leadership and strategic expertise helped build a strong institution.

”He has the rare combination of sound instinct, unflappable confidence and bold decision-making that make him a truly extraordinary leader,” she added.