Slaughter and May appoints first female leader

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Deborah Finkler takes up newly-created managing partner role next spring

Slaughter and May’s Deborah Finkler

Magic circle law firm Slaughter and May has elected its first female managing partner as part of a wider shake-up across its upper ranks.

Disputes partner Deborah Finkler will take up the newly-created role in May next year, and in the process will become the firm’s first female leader in its 132-year history.

At the same time, Slaughters will do away with the positions of practice partner and executive partner following the planned retirement of David Wittmann and Paul Stacey.

Finkler, who joined Slaughters as an associate some 35 years ago, will work closely with current senior partner Steve Cooke as part of a new-look management team which will also feature the firm’s first chief operating officer. The search for a COO, which could be filled by a non-lawyer, is ongoing, according to the firm.

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Commenting on her appointment, Finkler said:

“The creation of the managing partner role marks a significant change for the firm. It is an exciting challenge for me, and I am grateful for the support of my partners as I step up. I am looking forward to shaping the role of and hiring the COO over the coming months, but my focus will remain on fee earning work until I begin a handover period with David and Paul early next year.”

Finkler joins a growing number of women lawyers to secure senior positions within their firms in the past 12 months.

Georgia Dawson, for example, made history by becoming the magic circle’s first female leader when she assumed the role of senior partner at Freshfields earlier this year. Other notable appointments include Ashurst‘s global chair, Karen Davies, Linklaters’ senior partner Aedamar Comiskey, and Herbert Smith Freehills‘ senior partner and chair Rebecca Maslen-Stannage.

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Not sure this is newsworthy anymore.




Wow it seems like many of the commenters on the previous slaughters article were right


The firm is elitist and snobbish. It’s always been that way and I doubt this will change anytime soon


They have no reason to be snobbish. They are just a bunch of solicitors. Anyone with talent goes to the Bar.


Anyone with half a brain cell would avoid the bar for what it has become now. Especially the criminal bar.

The incompetencies and the corruption and deficiencies of the bar are coming to light now more than ever. It’s not as dazzling as Silks and TV series made it seem.

It’s also a very isolated career spent alone.


If your background is working class, ethnic minority, or a non Oxbridge education… the chances of you making it to the top at certain firms is quite slim.

This isn’t to be rude in me saying this, I had to learn the hard way and think the sooner people are honest with themselves the better chance they have at picking a firm they can thrive at.


The emphasis here is on “certain firms”.

But I have to agree with you there


Agree with you wholeheartedly. I learned the hard way that certain firms have a type… *cough* Slaughters and US outposts *cough*


A Cambridge educated middle class person makes partner at slaughters?! This is such a surprise!

Groundbreaking news!!!

FBD is King

She’s already made partner years ago…. Read the article (your point still stands however).


Managing partner*

That’s all you had to say lol


A woman who started her career in law when the rate of attrition for female solicitors in the City was sky-high, and sexism was rife. What is it with people today that they think the situation for younger women in law today is no different from what it was 20-30 years ago?


You’re deluded.

Henry H

After 132 years, a privileged white woman who went to Cambridge makes it to the upper ranks of slaughters… what a ShAkE uP!!!!

Random passer by

And they honestly think this is impressive. Like Cherie fighting for female access to the Garrick and wanting the rest of us to feel sorry for her and the millionaire female businesswoman that can’t go in.


Read this in the FT this morning. I come to LC for legal gossip – not stories I could read on MSM.


Imagine working at Slaughters for over 35 years…
Imagine what that does to a person

just an observation

Every slightly older woman partner I’ve ever worked with/against has been terrifyingly formidable, mainly because they have had to battle against old-fashioned attitudes for the vast majority of their careers. They really are as tough as nails, while newer female partners seem to be more relaxed in the way they run things.

What this means at a firm like Slaughters which is already notorious for beasting trainees I don’t know. But I suspect, based on the above, that Ms Finkler probably inspires the fear of god into anyone who works for her!

Ex Slaughters

Horrible place. Can’t even walk by their building without shuddering!

Helpful Henry

The actual groundbreaking news would be if anyone became managing partner there who hadn’t been to oxbridge


Since Oxbridge graduates are the cleverest people in the country, it is hardly surprising that the senior partner is Oxbridge.


So clever you had to spam like your own comment looool

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