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Stevens and Bolton make significant changes to senior leadership team

By Harry Whittle
16 May 2022

National law firm Stevens and Bolton LLP have announced the appointment of James Waddell as their new Managing Partner.

James was the firm's Head of Corporate and Commercial since 2015, he succeeds Richard King, who has stepping down following a successful five year tenure.

Having started his career at a leading City firm, James joined Stevens and Bolton in 2001 and became a partner in 2007.

James acts across a wide range of corporate, corporate finance and related regulatory work and is ranked as a leading corporate/M&A lawyer in the Chambers UK directory.

In tandem with this appointment, the firm has also announced a number of other changes to its senior leadership team, effective from 1 May.

Keith Syson has been elected as Senior Partner, replacing Richard Baxter who has held the role for ten years and continues as a partner in the corporate team. Sarah Murray replaces Jonathan Porteous as Head of the firm’s International Practice Group following Jonathan’s retirement from the partnership and Kate Schmit takes on the newly created role of Strategy Partner.

The firm has also secured two competitive partner hires. Heidi Sawtell, after a 17 year career in the City as a corporate and regulatory lawyer and a three year term advising the prudential regulator for banks and insurers, joins Stevens & Bolton as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice where she will focus on the insurance sector.

Gareth Walliss, ex Principal Associate in Shoosmiths’ high-net-worth team, joins as a partner in the firm’s private client practice. Internally, Matthew Padian and Grace Parker-White have been promoted within the firm’s restructuring & insolvency and family practices respectively, bringing the total number of partners at the firm to 42.

This round of partnership appointments and promotions is accompanied by a further ten Managing Associate promotions and nine Senior Associate promotions.

Commenting on the news, James said: “I am very excited and proud to be taking over the managing partnership from Richard. The last five years have been an incredibly challenging time to run any business, and Richard has led our firm magnificently over that period. So, I am taking on the role while the firm continues to go from strength to strength and we have great ambition for our future growth and success.  We have a strong market position as an independent, full-service firm outside London, offering quality and good value to our clients and a working environment in which our people can thrive.

It is also very exciting to be welcoming four new partners – Gareth, Grace, Heidi and Matthew – to our all-equity partnership, who will supplement our client offering and build on the strength in depth of our established teams. Congratulations also to our new Managing Associates and Senior Associates – further proof that the future is bright at Stevens & Bolton!”

Outgoing Managing Partner, Richard King, added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Managing Partner at the firm – culminating in a particularly strong financial performance this year as we celebrate a return to normality after the pandemic.  I am delighted to see James taking up the reins – he has led our market-leading corporate practice for the last seven years and is well placed to steer the firm to future success, supported by a strong leadership team. I wish them the very best of luck!”

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