Osborne Clarke appoints Saul as new senior partner

Osborne Clarke partners have elected Andrew Saul as the firm’s new senior partner, taking over from Tim Birt who has held the position since 2006.

Birt will step down at the end of the year having come to the end of his second, and therefore final, term as Osborne Clarke’s senior partner. He will remain at the firm as a fee-earner in its corporate practice and spearhead the firm’s efforts in New York, where it opened an office last month. 

Saul joined the firm as its corporate chief in 1996, and held the position for seven years. He is currently head of the firm’s London office, and also holds a post on its partnership council. His new role will take effect on 1 January 2014. 

The firm’s UK partners voted on the matter either in person or electronically last week following a partner meeting at Osborne Clarke’s City headquarters. However, the firm declined to comment on which other partners ran for the position. Elections for the firm’s new London office head will take place in due course. 

As senior partner Saul will become overall head of the partnership, and chair of the partnership council, which has responsibility for setting strategy and monitoring key policy implementation. 

He has set his sights on growing the firm’s footprint further in its European stronghold. Saul said: “I want to get stuck into international expansion. I have a lot of experience in that having set up our office in Silicon Valley and helping set up our office in New York.” 

On firm strategy, he noted: “There’ll be a lot of continuity with Tim. Our partnership is the strongest it’s ever been both in terms of quality and quantity. Maybe I’ll put more focus on the US side as that’s where I have most experience, but I’ll also concentrate on building out Europe. There’s a chance we’ll open more offices in Europe.” 

The firm has had a growth spurt in recent years, having formally tied up with its Spanish and Italian allies in March 2012 (29 March 2012). It then opened offices in Brussels (3 June 2013) and Paris (22 July 2013), and in New York last month (25 October 2013). 

Saul concluded: “The key things I’ll focus on are developing our sector focus and building out our international platform. I hope to achieve international development from a strong domestic base.” 

Managing partner Simon Beswick commented: “As a firm we have seen considerable change in the last eight years, and I’d like to thank Tim Birt for his leadership of the partnership during this period. 

“Tim has overseen the internationalisation of Osborne Clarke. He has very effectively represented the partners’ interests both internally through the partnership council and externally.” 

Birt said: “Having known and worked with Andrew for 17 years I have no doubt that he will do an exceptional job in his new role as the firm’s senior partner. For my part it will be a pleasure to serve Andrew and the firm, pressing on with our market leadership in the marcoms sector and piloting our European push in New York.” 

At the half-way point in 2013/14, the firm recorded a revenue increase of 12 per cent – rising to €71.6m (£59.8m). Osborne Clarke’s three UK offices saw their revenue grow by 8 per cent, while the amount of turnover generated by the firm’s UK key clients grew by 16 per cent (22 November 2013).