Clyde & Co Senior Partners - the Spinal Tap drummers of the legal world?
Clyde & Co has no imminent plans to appoint a Senior Partner as the last person to occupy the role - the fourth in under a decade - retires from the firm.
Peter Hirst stepped down from the Senior Partner position on 31 December after serving just over one year in the role, and retired today.
It was revealed in January that Hirst was being investigated for bullying, but was subsequently cleared. “I welcome the conclusion of this independent investigation which rejects the complaints made against me, as I was confident it would", Hirst said.
Before that messy business came to light, the Management Board sent a message to the firm announcing Hirst's retirement which now reads rather differently, particularly Hirst's explanation that "during the lockdowns imposed by Covid, I have been reflecting on my priorities" and "came to the conclusion that now is the right time to retire and make the most of the opportunities I have outside of practising law".
The firm has chewed through four Senior Partners in nine years. Hirst succeeded Simon Konsta in 2019, who replaced James Burns three years earlier, who replaced the long-serving Michael Payton in 2013.
The vacant SP chair "won't surprise those who alleged that the firm was never run by lawyers anyway", said a source, "but by a series of whip-handed accountants headed by Peter Hasson", the former Chief Executive who still serves as a consultant for the firm.
As for Hirst, he "clashed with some of the partners", said another source, and contributed to the splinter firm Preston Turnbull setting up in 2019 when four partners quit in solidarity with a suspended colleague.
The tumultuous experiences and brief tenures of the last three Senior Partners may hint at the reasons the role has been vacant for four months and counting.
However, an insider close to management disagreed with a RollOnFriday source that Clyde & Co "has given up completely on finding anyone and decided to set sail for the foreseeable future without a skipper at the wheel".
A spokesperson for the firm referred to the Management Board's December email to staff announcing Hirst's departure, which explained that they "will take some time to consider the most appropriate timescale for elections to replace Peter as Senior Partner", but "do not anticipate any undue haste given the strong performance and stability of the firm".