BigLaw firm names first female global chair

BigLaw firm names first female global chair

27 May 2021 By Jerome Doraisamy
BigLaw firm names first female global chair

A global law firm with six Australian offices has, for the first time, named a woman as its global chair.

Karen Davies has been elected as the new chair of Ashurst, succeeding Ben Tidswell, who is standing down from the firm’s partnership to assume a judicial appointment as a panel chairman of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Ms Davies is the firm’s UK head of corporate (where she has been a partner since 2012) and has served on its board since 2017. 

She is also the first woman to assume the role of global chair. Mary Padbury was vice-chair of Ashurst, and was the chair of Blake Dawson, before the firms merged under the Ashurst banner. 


In congratulating her on her new appointment, Mr Tidswell said he was “delighted” to be succeeded by Ms Davies, saying she has an “outstanding track record in delivering for our clients, our people and the business and I know she will make an extraordinarily good chair”.

Global managing partner Paul Jenkins added: “I have worked very closely with Karen as UK Head of Corporate and a member of our Board and her ability to combine management and leadership roles with a very successful practice is truly impressive.”

“Her incomparable commitment, client focus and drive will be invaluable to the firm in her new role. I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with Karen and delivering some outstanding results for the firm,” he said.

Mr Jenkins also thanked Mr Tidswell for his “exceptional contribution” to Ashurst as its chair over the last eight years, and wished him well for his new station at the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Ms Davies said it is an honour to be elected as the chair of Ashurst, and that she is “excited about the future and what Ashurst will achieve”.


“We have an incredibly strong platform and a fantastic culture that I am proud to be part of. It is a real privilege to serve the firm, my partners and contribute towards our ongoing success in this role,” she proclaimed.

“I look forward to working with Paul, the board, the executive team and all of my colleagues globally to help the firm build on its many achievements and deliver on the significant opportunities we have for our people and our clients.”

Ashurst is not the only global law firm to name a new chair in recent months. As reported by Lawyers Weekly, Herbert Smith Freehills named Australian partner Rebecca Maslen-Stannage as its new chair in March, Norton Rose Fulbright appointed Scott Atkins as its newest Australian chair in December of last year, and Baker McKenzie announced Michael Wong as its chair in Asia Pacific in November 2020.

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BigLaw firm names first female global chair
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