Business & Practice

Meet the New U.S. Face of Linklaters

May 12, 2017, 10:07 PM

Tom Shropshire was born and bred in Wisconsin, but as a lawyer, he’s spent his career as a corporate advisor working in the U.K. firm Linklaters’ London office.

Now, he plans to split his time between London and New York, as the new head of the firm’s U.S. practice, replacing partner Scott Bowie, who is retiring.

“We have a lot of European-based clients, a lot of Asian clients ... but where we’ve been underweight [historically] ... is U.S-based clients and we’ve always wanted to expand that,” Shropshire said.

He added that the firm is looking to service companies that need a law firm with a global platform and plans to look for clients beyond New York and Washington, D.C., where its approximately 100 lawyers in the U.S. are based.

“We want to be and need to be integral to the firm,” said Shropshire, about the U.S., noting that it’s only in the past few years that most of those lawyers have become fully integrated with the rest of the law firm. “My role is to be a great facilitator.”

Having earned a joint JD/MBA from New York University and spent time advising clients in New York, he said it’s a natural fit. But splitting his time in London will give him access to senior management, Shropshire explained.

The firm uses a lockstep system, which it voted to modify in November 2016, to provide greater flexibility including to allow partners’ compensation to vary based on the cost of living and strength of the legal market they’re in,according to Legal Week .

Despite the fact that two banking partners recently departed the firm’s New York office, Shropshire said the lockstep compensation model has never hampered its ability to attract or retain clients. Both departures were expecting, he said, declining to elaborate further, and adding that fluctuating currency values, including the declining value of the British pound after the country voted to exit the European Union last year, hasn’t changed anything.

“I don’t think that as a firm, compensation has ever been a limiting factor in what we want to achieve in the U.S.,” he said, noting the firm has made high-profile lateral recruits.

In March 2017, Matthew Axelrod joined the firm’s dispute resolution practice, after serving as the Department of Justice’s principal associate deputy attorney general.

“It’s a smaller office, so you do get ups and downs,” said Shropshire, “But ... projecting forward over the next 12 months, we really see a nice progression.”

He added, “We’ve really done well in terms of getting the teams firing together.”

UPDATED: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of lawyers in the U.S.; the correct number is 100, not 200.

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