Boardroom

"...Then my wife had the audacity to say that women could run this place, one day. Jean, are you getting this down?" 


Linklaters has elected its first female senior partner since the firm was founded in 1838.

Aedamar Comiskey starts her five-year term as senior partner on 1 July 2021, taking over from Charlie Jacobs, who is leaving for JPMorgan.

“The Linklaters partners have chosen a terrific next Senior Partner, Aedamar," said Jacobs. "I have known Aedamar for her whole career at Linklaters. I have so much admiration for her client focus, strategic thinking and leadership skills not to mention her energy and passion for our people, culture and communities."

"I am hugely proud to have been elected the Firm’s first female Senior Partner. It is an honour and a privilege," said Comiskey. "Thank you to my colleagues for their trust and confidence in me - I intend to deliver on the vision set out in my manifesto."

Comiskey joined the Magic Circle firm as a London trainee 29 years ago, becoming a partner in 2001. She is currently Global Head of Corporate and has lead high-profile deals, including recently advising G4S on the successful outcome of its high-profile and contested takeover.

Linklaters follows HSF and Freshfields in appointing a female senior partner. Georgia Dawson became the first woman to lead a Magic Circle firm when Freshfields made their announcement in September last year. And in March this year, HSF announced that it had elected its first female senior partner, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage.

The smaller proportion of senior women in firms, has been a bugbear for some respondents in RollOnFriday's in-house survey. In one survey, an in-house lawyer said that they wanted their law firms to "be like the business I work in", but instead found that most firms are "pale, male and stale". 

One female client said that it was depressing to attend meetings at a law firm where she was "the only senior woman in the room". She added that it was time for firms "to join the 21st century" since they were "making financial services look good, and that is really saying something".

Nonetheless, the high-ranking promotions of women in some firms doesn't mean there isn't still room for bold, female-friendly initiatives

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Comments

Anonymous 14 May 21 09:27

She was most likely the best candidate, but it would be more surprising at the moment if a large law firm appointed a senior partner who wasn't female.

Dearie 14 May 21 10:13

I welcome this news but am looking forward even more to the day when it is not newsworthy.

Anonymous 14 May 21 10:53

Lets hope she makes changes through the whole firm, making sure that the male dominant boys club culture of some of the business services departments gets dealt with quickly and boot these contractors out.

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:03

Given there are still plenty of examples of the more egregious end of "boys club culture" at Links, she's got her work cut out for her.

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:46

What Dearie said.

Links, we'd have more faith that the leopard has changed its spots if you didn't feel the need to bang the D&I PR drum every time you promote someone who isn't white, male and London-based.

Anonymous 14 May 21 12:45

@11:45 - y'know, the one that they say exists at whichever firm RoF has a news article about this week.

Anonymous 14 May 21 12:47

Got to agree with 11:39, this is a real step backwards for Links. A disgrace that they made yet another white hetronormative hire.

 

No wonder BAME candidates feel so excluded from the profession.

Anonymous 14 May 21 13:20

@Orwell - if I didn't understand the phrase the question would have been 'what is a boys club?', not 'what boys club'?

A subtle difference, but an important one nonetheless.

Anonymous 14 May 21 14:31

Apologies - I hadn't appreciated your incomprehension was so elementary. The other posters are talking about the "boys club culture" in the firm the article is about. HTH.

Anonymous 14 May 21 14:37

Not much of a 'boys club' if they've just appointed a female senior partner out of a shortlist made up of three females.

Anonymous 14 May 21 17:39

Unfortunately the 'boys club culture' is throughout Links - but very much alive in the business services departments that have been outsourced.  Departments that are predominantly women, but they've brought in men as managers, got rid of any women who were involved, the men bring in more men (with little to no experience of the field) rather than promote a woman (any woman) from within who have extensive experience and knowledge.  They bully anyone out who questions them, and unfortunately the old Linklaters senior management were part of that culture.  I hope Aedamar has the passion to make sure everyone is treated equally, throughout the whole firm.

Anonymous 14 May 21 23:27

@17.39 - a 'boys club' made up predominantly of women. Hmm. Hopefully Aedamar investigates your allegations and calls them out if they turn out to be false.

Anonymous 15 May 21 06:58

As a Links business services employee I’m a little surprised about the boys club reference to business services. The department I’m in has as many women as men in senior management positions - I’m sure we could do more in some places but it doesn’t strike me as the first place I’d single out as a boys club vs say the partnership. 

Anonymous 15 May 21 09:23

@6.58 - some people think that if there is even one male employed this constitutes a 'boys club'.

Links MA 16 May 21 13:13

Worth noting that all 3 candidates this year were women. It’s unclear whether that was deliberate and intended to make sure this happened or whether it really was based on merit.

I hope she gets rid of some of the old boys culture we still have around here. 

Brian Scalabrine 17 May 21 07:41

I remember working in a firm where white women made up 80% of the work force and it was referred to as being a diverse team.  Majority of them were privately educated too.  They would pat themselves on the back about it.  Quite pathetic.  

Dr Pratash Umber 17 May 21 15:17

I bet I know which business services departments the 'women' in this thread are from in Linklaters. Doesn't take a genius to work it out. Cry some more!!

 

Dr Pratash Umber 17 May 21 15:21

BS departments still salty about being outsourced and not getting the 'linklaters bonus' 

Anonymous 18 May 21 13:58

I'd show you at the Christmas Party, but apparently these days it gets you called 'handsy'.

Anonymous 20 May 21 13:56

If the BS department has been outsourced, then they are not part of the corporate entity therefore cannot form a "club" within that entity.  Call out the "boys club culture" in the outsourcing company if you like but you cant call it Linklaters as the staff are not employed by Linklaters.

 

Anonymous 20 May 21 14:01

I worked at firm which is 100% owned by BAME partners.  They happily ticked the box on the D&I questionnaires sent by US clients who praised our level of diversity.  They were a Chinese firm in China and every partner graduated from the same university and were members of the same political party and were all male.  But great diversity stats being 100% BAME owned.

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