Leeds-based Walker Morris has appointed disputes partner Malcolm Simpson as its new managing partner.

Simpson will succeed incumbent managing partner Ian Gilbert at the end of April, when Gilbert retires from the firm after an eight-year tenure as managing partner.

Simpson, based in Leeds, has been with the firm for over 17 years since he joined from Irwin Mitchell in 2000, and was recently elected to the leadership role unopposed.

Apart from being a key member of the firm’s disputes group, he has also been involved in the firm’s management and operations.

Simpson is the former chair of Walker Morris’ international committee and head of the firm’s US practice. He also served as IT partner, during which he oversaw a multi-million pound investment in the firm’s IT system and infrastructure.

“Malcolm is taking over at be a very exciting time for the firm and is ideally suited to lead Walker Morris through its next phase of development and to help the firm deliver its ambitious plans for growth,” said Gilbert.

“It is currently an exciting and dynamic time in the legal sector, with the influence of technology, the impact of Brexit and new working practices all feeding into changing the way we respond to our clients’ needs,” commented Simpson. “I am looking forward to continuing to shape Walker Morris’ distinctive approach.”

Walker Morris has recently made two lateral hires as part of its growth plan. Eearlier this month, it appointed banking litigation partner Rob Aberdein from Aberdein Considine, where he was a partner for nearly 11 years. It has also hired regulatory partner Stuart Ponting from DLA Piper.

The hires come after a slightly challenging year for Walker Morris, which saw a 2 per cent dip in its 2016/17 revenue from £42m to £41.5m. It was largely a result of the firm extracting itself from commoditised areas of practice such as personal injury according to The Lawyer’s 2017 UK 200 report.

However, its net profit dropped 3.7 per cent from £13.4m to £12.9m while average profit per equity partner fell slightly from £401,000 to £392,000.