Ted Burke: The winding road from managing partner to GC

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer managing partner Ted Burke is planning to stand down in the first quarter of 2014 to take up a general counsel position of Boston private equity firm Arclight Capital Partners. Here we look back at his time at the top.



Burke joins Freshfields from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy

20 December 2005

Burke is confirmed as new chief executive of Freshfields, replacing Hugh Crisp who stands down for personal reasons

February 2006

Freshfields scraps the all-equity partnership in the Far East.

29 May 2006

Freshfields partners vote in favour of ditching its all-equity partnership model, with the partnership council approving plans to create fixed-share partners. It was believed the move was intended to secure a US merger.

25 September 2006

Freshfields’ closes a two-partner Singapore office to refocus its Asia strategy on China.

20 October 2006

Freshfields launches a major overhaul of its support services teams, resulting in a number of staff redundancies.

23 October 2006

Management kick off a radical partner de-equitisation programme, affecting up to 50 equity partners, in a bid to boost profit.

1 November 2006

Thirty plateau partners aged 50 or over retire to take advantage of more favourable pension terms, before the scheme’s overhaul. Between natural attrition, de-equitisations and the pension scheme, Freshfields cuts 100 partners from its equity within 18 months.

July 2007

The firm refocuses on growth in the Middle East, securing a license to practice in Bahrain.

June 2008

Freshfields launches an office in Abu Dhabi headed by Charles July.

January 2009

The firm launches a US litigation practice, hiring four high profile partners in just six months.

30 September 2010

Freshfields overhauls the management structure. Burke loses the firm’s senior partner election to Will Lawes, and switches his ‘chief executive’ position to that of managing partner.

21 February 2012

Freshfields looks to expand its Asian litigation and investigations footprint, by sending two of its most senior litigation and arbitration partners to Hong Kong.

12 September 2012

Freshfields relaunches an arbitration hub in Singapore after withdrawing from the region in 2006 to focus on Greater China.

26 October 2012

Freshfields reportedly sends a high-level delegation to Australia to look into possibilities in the region.

30 September 2013

Burke confirms his decision to leave Freshfields to take the general counsel and COO role of Boston private equity firm Arclight Capital Partners.