SJ Berwin litigator enters senior partner election race

SJ Berwin litigation partner Hilton Mervis has decided to have a second stab at winning a managerial role by standing against favourite Stephen Kon in the firm’s upcoming senior partner vote.

Stephen Kon
Stephen Kon

Mervis was the first candidate to be eliminated in the firm’s managing partner election in 2010, losing out in the first round of voting to corporate partners Rob Day and Perry Yam (18 October 2010). Day went on to win (22 October 2010), while Yam has since resigned from the firm (14 December 2011).

EU and competition head Kon has already declared his intention to stand after being widely tipped for the role, and is still seen as the frontrunner by a distance.

He was the main figure in charge of negotiations over a merger with US firm Proskauer Rose, which was called off (15 November 2010).

Kon put his hat in the ring after current senior partner Jonathan Blake chose not to try for a third term (3 February 2012).

It is rare for the firm’s senior partner election to be contested, with Blake re-elected for his second term unopposed three years ago (15 December 2008).

The election takes place every three years in line with the firm’s partnership agreement.

Jonathan Blake
Jonathan Blake

Litigation head Craig Pollack has also been tipped as a potential candidate, but it is unclear whether he will return from sabbatical in time to stand.

The senior partner role is seen as a more ambassadorial job than the managing partner position. However, the firm’s request for manifestos this time around suggests that the role might become more managerial.

SJ Berwin will be hoping that this year’s senior partner election is not as acrimonious as the 2010 managing partner process, which came in the midst of a major rift at the firm during talks with Proskauer (1 November 2010).

SJ Berwin declined to comment.