Magic circle firm Slaughter and May has appointed its first managing partner as part of a major boardroom shake-up.

Deborah Finkler will take up the role of managing partner on 1 May 2022, replacing practice partner David Wittmann and executive partner Paul Stacey, both of whom are due to retire. Finkler said the new role marks a ‘significant change’ for the firm.


Deborah Finkler will take up the new role in May 2022

The managing partner position will take on the functions of the practice partner, together with the strategic elements of the executive partner’s role. Meanwhile a chief operating officer (COO) – who has yet to be appointed – will take on the managerial and operational aspects of the executive partner’s role.

Finkler joined Slaughter and May in 1986 and became a partner in 1991. She specialises in banking and commercial litigation and regulatory investigation and has worked for clients including Santander, JP Morgan and WPP.

Senior partner Steve Cooke said: ‘I am delighted to announce Deborah’s appointment. Her reputation as a practitioner is outstanding and she combines this experience with great knowledge of the firm from her time as head of our disputes and investigations group and as a previous member of the partnership board.’

Finkler added: ‘The creation of the managing partner role marks a significant change for the firm. It is an exciting challenge for me, and I am grateful for the support of my partners as I step up. I am looking forward to shaping the role of and hiring the COO over the coming months, but my focus will remain on fee earning work until I begin a handover period with David and Paul early next year.’