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21 Law Firm Leaders Who Hung Up the Crown

Nov. 18, 2015, 11:41 PM

Earlier today we published an article that the chair of Richmond-based LeClairRyan was stepping down after 28 years at the helm.

The news reminded us that the leader — Gary LeClair — certainly wasn’t the only one to have hung up the crown recently. In fact, a fairly expansive list of prominent law firm chairs (and some CEOs and managing partners in the mix) have given up leadership status over the past five years.

All relinquished responsibilities for different reasons: Some were forced exits, while others were delicately planned transitions.

While leadership transitions are common place and any five-year period is bound to rack up a number, we compiled a rough list of some of the most memorable recent transitions.

Which leader was most influential? And who is the next Big Law leader to join the growing 21 club?

Let us know your thoughts (and if we missed anyone) at biglawbusiness@bna.com.

2015: James Rishwain steps down as chair of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; replaced by David Dekker.

2014: Michael Nannes steps down as chairman of Dickstein Shapiro; replaced by Jim Kelly.

2014: Tony Angel steps down as global co-chairman of DLA Piper; replaced by Nigel Knowles.

2014: Valerie Ford Jacob steps down as chair of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson; replaced by David Greenwald.

2014: Jay Zimmerman steps down as chair of Bingham McCutchen; replaced by Steven Browne.

2014: Warren Gorrell and David Harris, step down as co-CEO of Hogan Lovells; replaced by Stephen Immelt.

2014: Robert Dell steps down as chair of Latham & Watkins; replaced by William Voge.

2014: Regina Pisa steps down as chair of Goodwin Procter; replaced by David Hashmall.

2014: Don Lents steps down as chair of Bryan Cave; replaced by Therese Pritchard.

2013: Ralph Baxter steps down as chairman of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe; replaced by Mitch Zuklie.

2013: Fran Milone steps down as chairman of Morgan Lewis & Bockius; replaced by Jami Wintz McKeon.

2013: Gregory Jordan steps down as global managing partner of Reed Smith; replaced by Alexander “Sandy” Thomas.

2012: Steven Davis is ousted as chair of Dewey & LeBoeuf; replaced by a five-member office of the chairman.

2012: Evan Chesler steps down as presiding partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, filling an honorary title of chairman; replaced by C. Allen Parker.

2012: Keith Wetmore steps down as chair of Morrison & Foerster; replaced by Larren Nashelsky.

2012: Herbert Krueger steps down as chair of Mayer Brown; replaced by Paul Theiss.

2012: Bruce McLean steps down as chair of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; replaced by Kim Koopersmith.

2011: Robert Ruyak steps down as chair of Howrey; the firm dissolved and Ruyak joined Winston & Strawn.

2011: John Ettinger steps down as managing partner of Davis Polk & Wardwell; replaced by Thomas Reid.

2011: A.B. Culvahouse steps down as chair of O’Melveny & Myers; replaced by Brad Butwin.

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