Osborne Clarke elects Berg to replace Beswick as UK managing partner

Osborne Clarke corporate and commercial head Ray Berg is set to become the firm’s new UK managing partner for a four-year term starting on 1 January 2015.

He will step into the shoes of Simon Beswick, who is nearing the end of his third and final term after 12 years as Osborne Clarke UK managing partner. Beswick will continue as Osborne Clarke’s global CEO, a role he has had since 2012, until next summer (10 June 2014). 

The firm’s entire domestic partnership voted on the contested election at a special partners meeting yesterday (4 November). Attendees had the opportunity to ask candidates questions before casting their vote. The vast majority voted in person, with the remainder voting electronically. 

Berg joined Osborne Clarke in 2001 and has headed up its business transactions group, which covers its corporate and commercial practice, since January 2013. That role also gifted him a spot on the firm’s executive committee. 

He told The Lawyer: “Obviously I’ll be working very, very closely with Simon who will continue as the firm’s CEO. I previously sat on the executive board, and have already worked closely with him in my practice head role.” 

Berg added that while he “may tweak bits” of Osborne Clarke’s UK strategy in his new managing partner role, he would largely be “carrying on and building on Simon’s successful strategy”. 

Berg is renowned as one of the firm’s top corporate partners, having recently worked on deals including the acquisition of Enara Group by MITIE Group for £110.8m, and a series of fundraisings for NewVoiceMedia. 

Berg told The Lawyer: “Obviously it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m very keen to have relationships with clients going forward.”

Since becoming Osborne Clarke’s UK managing partner in 2002, Beswick has overseen the growth of the firm from a six-office firm with a turnover of £60.9m in 2002/03 to an 18-office £142m firm in 2013/14 (12 May 2014). 

Over the past 12 months there have been a number of management changes at Osborne Clarke. Andrew Saul was elected into the senior partner spot in November, replacing Tim Birt, who returned to fee-earning at the end of his second (and therefore final) term in the role (26 November 2013). 

The firm’s employment chief David Cubitt was elected to succeed Saul and lead the firm’s London office the following month (20 December 2013). 

Earlier this week, it emerged that Osborne Clarke has forged a non-exclusive relationship with a new firm BTG Legal, based in Mumbai. The new firm is headed up by Osborne Clarke’s former India group head Prashant Mara and is currently home to four lawyers (3 November 2014).