It is understood that Stewart is hoping to win the backing of the partnership by volunteering to reduce his position on the firm’s nine-year lockstep if he is elected.
Nominations for the post opened today, with anyone interested in the role being asked to put their name forward to the partnership via email.
Sources at the firm said Stewart had told the partnership that he did not view the job as a full-time position, believing that the successful candidate would have to commit a maximum of three days a week to the role.
However, as those three days would be spread across the full working week and would encroach on the two days devoted to fee-earning, Stewart has offered to take a reduction in lockstep points if he wins the vote.
As a plateau partner Stewart would currently be on 100 lockstep points, with each point being worth £8,700 at the end of the last financial year. It is unclear how many points he is proposing to drop.
Sources at the firm said that Bickerton put his name forward this morning.
The post of London managing partner has become vacant after incumbent Jeremy Sandelson, who would have come to the end of his term in December, was elected to the global litigation head role (7 October 2009).
Sandelson had stood against former Asian litigation head Denis Brock.
Stewart, who specialises in acquisition finance, has headed the firm’s London banking practice since May 2006, when he took over from Tim Plews following an uncontested election. His four-year term is due to come to an end next year.
Bickerton has also headed his practice group since 2006, taking over management of the merged equity and debt capital markets teams in January 2007.
Both partners’ names were linked to the London managing partner position the last time round, although neither went forward to the vote.
Stewart and Bickerton did not return calls for comment.