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Magic circle gets its first woman leader

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Georgia Dawson takes top role at Freshfields

Georgia Dawson

Georgia Dawson has become the first woman to lead a magic circle law firm.

Freshfields confirmed yesterday that it has appointed Dawson as its next senior partner. The experienced lawyer — who currently serves as the firm’s Asia managing partner and the leader of the Asia dispute resolution practice — succeeds current senior partner Edward Braham.

Dawson started legal life in the Sydney office of Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) before joining Freshfields in 2004. She made partner in 2012.

The internal and regulatory investigations specialist will relocate to London from Hong Kong/Singapore to lead a new senior management team which will consist of Alan Mason (US), Rafique Bachour (Frankfurt) and Rick van Aerssen (Brussels). The new-look team will take up its duties in January 2021.

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Dawson commented:

“I am honoured to have been elected by my fellow partners, alongside Alan, Rafique and Rick. With this team we have broad experience and a diversity of perspectives, and a shared purpose and vision for Freshfields. We intend to preserve the very best of our culture, market leading practices and standards of client service while leading the firm into the next chapter of its long history.”

Although Dawson is the first woman to take the helm of a magic circle law firm, she isn’t the first to do so at a major City player. Other female leaders past and present include Lesley MacDonagh, who in 1995 became the first woman to be elected managing partner of a top ten City firm, Lovell White Durrant (now Hogan Lovells), and Penelope Warne, the current UK chairman and senior partner at CMS.

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