Shoosmiths chief exec steps down in wake of trainee deferral row

Shoosmiths chief executive Paul Stothard has stepped down from the role after a seven-year reign and is set to leave the firm.

Litigation partner Claire Rowe will succeed him in the position in 1 August after being voted in by the firm’s partnership earlier this week.

Shoosmiths is the only firm not to offer future trainees any payment for pushing back their start dates. When two future joiners, Tom Goff and George Roberts, defended this decision on The Lawyer’s sister title Lawyer2B they were mocked in a series of posts from readers (30 April).

Stothard did not defend the pair in public, although he did stand by the firm’s decision not to offer any compensation to deferring trainees (18 May).

According to Shoosmiths chairman Andrew Tubbs, Stothard’s departure from the firm is amicable.

He said: “He felt the time was right to hand his leadership role to someone new to shape the next chapter in our history. He’s leaving us amicably and we wish him all the very best.”

Rowe, who became a partner in 1990, currently heads the firm’s commercial practice group, which comprises national teams specialising in litigation, commercial and technology, lender services, housing, regulatory, debt recovery, employment and pensions.

She said: “I plan to go ahead with many of Paul’s plans, including ringfencing personal injury as well as launching a rebrand of the consumer business. This is a really exciting time for Shoosmiths and I’m looking forward to taking up my new role.”

Tubbs said: “Claire was elected by partner vote.  She has proven leadership ability in her role as head of our successful commercial practice group and as a member of our operations board.  She is widely respected by the partners, our staff and her clients alike.  I am looking forward to working with her in her new role.”