Law Firms

DLA Piper announces new top management team for 2015

International megafirm DLA Piper expects to be making some changes in its top management structure as of 2015.

Two new global co-chairs will take the helm, assuming that the change is approved by foreign partners of the 4,200-attorney firm, which is set up as a Swiss verein, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports.

The new firm leaders will be corporate practice head Roger Meltzer, who worked for Cahill Gordon & Reindel until 2007, and Nigel Knowles, a partner in the London office who was instrumental in the 2005 merger that created DLA Piper. Meltzer currently serves as co-chair of the firm for the Americas and Knowles is managing partner of its international business practice.

Currently, the firm is co-chaired by Lee Miller, a Chicago partner who helped engineer the 1999 merger between Rudnick & Wolfe and Piper & Marbury that set the stage for the formation of DLA Piper; and Tony Angel, who joined the firm’s London office in 2011. Angel formerly had served a 10-year stint as global managing partner of Linklaters. Miller and Angel will serve an “important advisory role” in the future, the firm says, but what exactly that role will be has not been explained.

Replacing Meltzer and Knowles as the firm’s new CEOs will be San Diego partner Cameron “Jay” Rainswith, who is now a co-chair of the Americas with Meltzer, and Simon Levine, a London intellectual property partner who is now co-managing director for groups and sectors.

As part of the new management structure, the firm’s practice groups will be globalized, Levine tells Legal Week (sub. req.). “There will be alignment across everything we do, and that includes practice group leaders.”

The Wall Street Journal says the new management team steps in Jan. 1, 2015, but the Lawyer, which focuses on British legal news, reports that the changes will take place as of May 1, 2015. It appears that the effective date may be different in the U.S. and European branches of DLA Piper. It is common in the United Kingdom for major law firms to operate on a fiscal year that differs from the calendar year.

Related coverage:

The Lawyer: “DLA Piper loses Washington DC chief to Covington & Burling”

Legal Week (sub. req.): “DLA Piper accounts show rise in capital contributions as net debt falls”

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