Pinsent Masons elects Richard Foley as senior partner

Pinsent Masons partners have elected the firm’s head of construction Richard Foley as senior partner for a four-year term beginning October 2014

Incumbent senior partner Chris Mullen held the role for nine years before going head-to-head with Foley in an election process that kicked off in early June (10 June 2014)

Foley has been at Pinsent Masons for 24 years, originally joining the business from legacy Masons when it merged with Pinsent Curtis Biddle in December 2004.

He launched the firm’s energy sector practice in 2008 before moving on to lead its projects practice. Prior to that he was head of the firm’s Asia practice and based in Hong Kong for seven years.

In the run up to the voting sources described him as popular and likely to find support among the partnership, particularly as there was a widespread feeling that a change of leadership was overdue.

The election is the first for any role at Pinsents to be contested since managing partner David Ryan was first elected in 1998.

Pinsents is also due to hold managing partner elections later this year, most likely in the autumn. These are also expected to be contested.

Mullen has been senior partner since 2004 and was re-elected with no opposition to serve a four-year term in 2008 (30 June 2008). He was not voted into the position in the first instance but took over mid-term from longstanding senior partner Julian Tonks who stepped down due to illness.

Mullen was a pensions partner before stepping into the leadership role. It is currently unknown whether he will return to fee earning at the end of his term.

The Lawyer revealed that a management shake-up was on the cards in March after sources indicated that elections were due and that there was a growing appetite for change at the firm (31 March 2014).

Both managing partner and senior partner elections had been due to take place in October 2012 but were postponed in light of the firm’s merger with McGrigors in May 2012 (6 February 2012).

Foley said the election process had enabled him to discuss the firm’s “aspirations, challenges and plans for the future” with partners across all the firm’s offices, in what he referred to as a “spirited and positive campaign”.

Addleshaw Goddard recently elected head of business support and restructuring John Joyce as the firm’s new managing partner in the firm’s first contested election since Paul Devitt was elected in 2009 (16 May 2014).