Thursday 23 September 2021 2:29 pm

Meet Deborah Finkler: The first female leader of City firm Slaughter and May

Deborah Finkler will be Slaughter and May’s first female managing partner as the Magic Circle firm restructures its executive team.

Finkler, a graduate from the University of Cambridge, where she studied economics and law, became a partner at Slaughter and May 30 years ago, after five years as an associate at the company.

She was one of five women tipped as contenders for the newly created role, according to legal news provider

Regarded as “one of the UK’s leading lawyers in the field of banking and commercial litigation and regulatory investigation,” according to Slaughter and May, Finkler previously headed up both the disputes and global investigations departments at the law firm.  

Her accolades include being recognised in the ‘Hall of Fame’ in Legal 500 UK 2020, and as a ‘Leading individual’ in Chambers UK 2020, for banking litigation.

Finkler’s high profile clients include WPP, who turned to Slaughter and May following the departure of its former CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, and JPMorgan Chase Bank for help with settlements and UK civil claims following governmental investigations into allegations of attempts to manipulate FX rates.

Finkler will begin a handover period early next year and take up the new role in May 2022 after David Wittmann and Paul Stacey, practice partner and executive partner respectively, retire.

Until then she will continue to work in her fee paying role as a partner at Slaughter and May.

In May this year the law firm announced a new target of at least 40 per cent of its equity partner promotions globally to be women by the end of 2027.

“The creation of the Managing Partner role marks a significant change for the firm,” said Finkler in a statement.

In the newly created role of managing partner she will adopt the functions of the practice partner, together with the strategic elements of the executive partner’s role.

A chief operating officer (COO) will be hired by Finkler in the coming months to manage the operational aspects of the executive partner’s role, in another first for the law firm. 

Earlier this year Slaughter and May, which boasts more FTSE 350 clients than any other law firm, announced plans to restructure its management team, a move it said was needed “given the growth of responsibilities in this area.”

Senior partner Steve Cooke said Finkler’s “reputation as a practitioner is outstanding.”