Updated: RPC's director of infrastructure Julie Berry moves to UK top 20 accountant Saffery Champness as a partner
RPC’s longstanding director of infrastructure Julie Berry has left to join UK top 20 chartered accountant Saffery Champness as IT partner after 27 years at the UK top 50 law firm.
Berry, who officially left RPC on 31 August, told Legal IT Insider that her reasons for leaving are that she wants to experience an alternative professional services offering and “they offered me a partnership, which is hard to turn down.” Saffery Champness was ranked as the 12th largest chartered accountant by Accountancy Age in its 2017 rankings, with a UK income of just over £78m. PWC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG are at the top of those rankings, with PWC generating £3.4bn.
Partnership for IT directors is still rare in the legal sector. In a move said to recognise the strategic importance of technology, Foot Anstey’s IT director Duncan Eadie was in 2015 promoted to equity partner (he has subsequently moved to top 50 UK law firm Charles Russell Speechlys) while other IT directors who have been promoted into a partner role include Winckworth Sherwood’s head of IT Christel Aguila.
Jeff Wright, currently operations director at TLT, was promoted to partner while IT director at Morgan Cole.
As technology becomes the number one topic on managing partners lips, we would hope to see more IT partner promotions. Keep us posted if we’ve missed any out.
Meanwhile, Berry joins the unusually large number of senior IT director departures and moves this year, see below our roundup of all the moves from the latest Orange Rag.
Updated: We forgot to mention in the list of partners Stuart Whittle, business services and innovation director at Weightmans, who was made a fixed share partner in 2002 and an equity partner in 2013. He has been on the board at Weightmans since 2010.
CIO leavers (and joiners) corner
The past 12 months has seen a fairly unprecedented number of CIO moves, with changes at the top of at least six of the top 50 law firm IT teams, so we thought a little recap might be useful for all you Movers and Shakers aficionados out there.
In December 2017 Rob Cohen left Charles Russell Speechlys and subsequently formed his own consultancy, Futurae.
As we revealed in June, Duncan Eadie has now joined that UK top 50 firm from Foot Anstey, as director of information technology.
In March we broke the news that Daniel Pollick was leaving DLA Piper after 23 years at the firm. In an email to friends and colleagues in the industry, Pollick said: “I’m leaving DLA Piper on 23 March, after just over 23 years at the firm. It’s been quite a ride…..As for what comes next, I have no idea. At the moment I feel almost delirious at the prospect of several months of doing not much at all. It will be the first time for more than 30 years that I have had more than 2 weeks off, I think.”
What a difference a few months makes, as at the start of July we revealed that Pollick is joining DWF in the newly-created role of chief information officer at the soon to float UK firm.
Chief technology officer Richard Hodkinson is moving on from the firm, so no doubt we will shortly be reporting his next move.
At DLA, Pollick has been replaced on an interim basis by Paul Gilford, who is helping the firm to recruit a permanent IT director. In the US, Jacqueline King joined the global firm in October 2017 in the newly created role of director of operations, and all service directors – including the new IT director – will report to her. King came from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and has held a number of CIO and COO roles.
As we revealed exclusively in April, in a heavyweight hire from outside of the legal sector, Ashurst has appointed GE Capital International’s IT director Noel Jordan as its new chief technology officer. He replaces Bruna Pellicci, whose last month at the firm was July. Jordan, who was previously chief information officer at GE Capital Bank UK before taking on the global IT director role in October 2016, joined Ashurst in May.
He is one of a number of senior technologists brought into the legal sector from outside, following in the wake of Matt Peers at Linklaters, Kevin Harris at Taylor Wessing, and Haig Tyler at Herbert Smith Freehills. In July, Clyde & Co’s global CIO Chris White formally confirmed his departure from the international firm, after over five years at the helm.
The firm has appointed DiAnna Thimjon, former CIO of California law firm Sedgwick, as acting CIO. Thimjon, who was part of the team brought in by Clyde & Co in December 2017, is conducting a review of Clyde & Co’s data strategy and IT provision globally.
She will work together with Chris Barrett, who joined from Capita last year as Clyde & Co’s global director of transformation, based in Manchester.
Elsewhere, Travers Smith has decided on a replacement for retiring IT director Ann Cant, we revealed towards the end of July, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s interim chief technology officer Oliver Bethell set to join the UK top 50 firm in September as CTO.
You can read about that appointment in full on page 11. Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been quietly restructuring its senior IT team. Jon Grainger took over from Richard Harris as chief information officer in November 2017 and in December, Charlotte Baldwin joined as chief digital and technology officer. Grainger was previously vicepresident and programme director at Capgemini. Before that he was deputy head of private sector programmes at Fujitsu and he has held director roles at both Deloitte and Accenture.