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Seven law firm partners named on 2017 ‘ethnic minority role model’ power list

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Lawyers at Freshfields, Linklaters, Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance and BLP all make the cut

A new power list celebrating the achievements of BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) business leaders features seven top law firm partners.

Produce by EMpower, in partnership with the Financial Times, the annual top 100 list ranks BAME business leaders from across the world based on four key criteria.

The judging panel — which included Barclays’ chief executive officer Ashok Vaswani and University of Oxford economics lecturer Linda Yueh — assessed each candidate on their seniority and influence, what they do to make their business more welcoming to BAME employees, what they do outside of work to help BAME people and their recent business achievements.

This year’s list, published earlier today, includes partners from seven of the world’s top law firms.

Finishing in 11th place, the accolade for highest ranking lawyer goes to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Timothy Wilkins. A specialist in cross-border mergers, Wilkins — who co-chairs the magic circle giant’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee — is based at the firm’s New York office.

Next up is Linklaters’ US partner Tom Shropshire. Securing 20th position on the 2017 list, Shropshire is co-chair of the magic circle firm’s BAME Network and operates out of its London office. He specialises in complex mergers and acquisitions.

Landing 28th place is the first of two Slaughter and May lawyers to make this year’s rankings. Having joined the elite firm in 1993, Sarah Lee has experience in all aspects of major litigation and arbitration. One place below Lee in 29th is Clifford Chance’s international financial markets partner Habib Motani.

Further down, in 66th place is Slaughter and May’s Nilufer von Bismarck. Head of the firm’s equity capital markets practice, von Bismarck joined Slaughters in 1990 before making partnership four years later. Eleven places below her is Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) Segun Osuntokun. Head of the outfit’s energy disputes group, Osuntokun is described as “immensely charming” on his BLP profile.

Last, but by know means least, is Freshfields’ Annette Byron. Securing 92nd place, Byron co-leads the firm’s global Black Affinity Network and specialises in real estate law.

Away from the legal sector, this year’s top spot went to the president of Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald. Specialising in luxury cruises, the business has over 120,000 members of staff across 60 countries.

2017 Top Ethnic Minority Leaders (lawyers only)

Overall rankingNameFirm
11Timothy WilkinsFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
20Tom ShropshireLinklaters
28Sarah LeeSlaughter and May
29Habib MotaniClifford Chance
66Nilufer von BismarckSlaughter and May
77Segun OsuntokunBerwin Leighton Paisner
92Annette ByronFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

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