Jo Evans will succeed Michael Burd as Corporate Partnerships and D&I Leader in April, 2022
A top 100 law firm in the UK has appointed its first woman chair, corporate partner, and diversity and inclusion (D&I) board leader to Jo Evans, a partner and a member of the partnership board.
Michael Burd is completing his second term on 1 April, and Evans will take over from him. Burd has spent nearly 40 years at the firm and has served as chairman since 2016. Burd will return to his employment practice upon his retirement.
Lewis Silkin's London-based Evans joined the firm as a trainee in 1993 before becoming a partner in 2000. He has served as director of the firm's corporate practice. A number of areas in the creative economy, including marketing, media, communications, data and digital enterprise are the focus of her practice, including corporate exits, M&A, capital raising and joint ventures.
Lewis Silkin's D&I efforts are based on a variety of strands, including gender, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability and interfaith. Evans serves as chair of the D&I board. Under Evans' leadership, the firm signed on to a number of D&I initiatives like the Law Society's Charter for D&I and the Women in Law Pledge and becoming an employer network member.
The future holds exciting challenges and it is an honour to help lead a business that looks to the future with a 21st-century mindset," Evans said.
According to her, advancing diversity and inclusivity within the legal field is critical and shifting the dial is needed if we are to make significant progress. Using my leadership position to make us and our profession better is something I am looking forward to."
Under Burd's leadership, Lewis Silkin has grown significantly - it has gained two new base offices in Dublin and Belfast, bringing the total number of offices to six and its partner count has grown from 59 to 74.
Just a few weeks ago, the company announced that it had partnered with local boutique. Forde Campbell to strengthen its technology, intellectual property and media capacities throughout Northern Ireland.
Besides London and Cardiff, Lewis Silkin has offices in Oxford and Hong Kong. In the past month, it has announced that it is relocating its London offices from Chancery Lane to a 19-story building in Southwark. The building is part of the new sustainable Bankside Yards development.
Several other prominent UK firms have elevated women as senior leaders in the past 18 months, including Clifford Chance, which appointed Deborah Finkler as its first managing partner in September 2021 as part of its attempt to move toward a more contemporary management structure.
The firm has also announced in May that Aedamar Comiskey, the global head of its corporate practice, would be the first woman to be a senior partner in its nearly 200-year history.
At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Georgia Dawson will become the firm's next senior partner in September 2020, making her the first woman to hold such a position in a magic circle firm.