Stephenson Harwood sets date for LLP move as ex-chief quits for Cleary

Stephenson Harwood is set for a vote on its conversion to a limited liability partnership (LLP) on 28 March, with a result expected to be announced the following day.

Sunil Gadhia
Sunil Gadhia

Meanwhile, former CEO Sunil Gadhia is to join Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as a partner.

Gadhia will leave his role as a litigation partner and head of the firm’s India practice after 24 years with the firm.

He will join partners Jonathan Kelly, Jonathan Blackman, David Sabel, and Romano Subiotto QC in Cleary’s London disputes team.

Gadhia was Stephenson Harwood’s chief executive from 2003 until September 2009, leading them out of a period of decline and into profit. He then stepped down and back into a full time fee-earning role as a commercial litigator. He also fulfills the position of Asian Business Association chairman.

Regarding the LLP conversion, a firm spokesperson confirmed the 28 March deadline, saying the firm expected to have the result by the following afternoon.

A ‘yes’ vote would make the City firm one of the last major UK firms to change to become an LLP, with Slaughter and May the only remaining top-50 firm not to have converted.

The legal structure provides protection in the case of a major indemnity claim against the firm, but is seen as a cultural shift too far for traditional firms such as Slaughters.