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April 7, 2011 5:16 PM

Davis Polk, Foley & Lardner Make Changes at the Top

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Davis Polk & Wardwell announced Thursday that Thomas Reid, 46, has been elected managing partner of the firm, succeeding John Ettinger, who stepped down in February after 12 years.

Reid spent the past three years serving on Davis Polk's management committee as head of the firm's corporate department. Reid is a corporate partner who has been heavily involved in Davis Polk's financial institutions practice and international strategy, the firm said.

Reid joined Davis Polk as an associate in 1987 and became a partner in 1995. Aside from a three-year stint from 2000 to 2003 as a managing director at Morgan Stanley, he has been with Davis Polk his entire career and has spent time in the London and New York offices.

The New York Times noted that the Kirkcaldy, Scotland–born Reid is the first managing partner in Davis Polk's history born outside the U.S. Reid attended the University of Edinburgh School of Law and Columbia Law School. 

In a statement, Reid said he's ready "to help guide the firm as we continue to grow our business, to set the profession's standard of excellence across our many practice areas and to help our clients achieve their business objectives worldwide."

In February, Ettinger, 59, told The Am Law Daily that the time was right for him to step down as managing partner. "The fact that the economy appears to be a little stronger makes it a better time to do this," he said. (Click here to read our coverage of Ettinger stepping down.)

Ettinger, who joined Davis Polk in 1979, remains at the firm as a partner. His 12 years as managing partner give him the longest tenure in the top Davis Polk job since since Henry King held the title from 1984 to 1996, a firm spokesman said. Frank Morison served as managing partner from 1996 to 1999. 

Joining Reid and Carey Dunne, head of the litigation practice, on the firm's three-person management committee is partner John Bick, who will head the corporate department.

Meanwhile, Foley & Lardner also announced changes at the top Thursday, saying that Jay Rothman will take over as chairman and CEO, effective June 1. Rothman succeeds current chair Ralf Böer, who will step down in June after nine years in the post and 20 years on the firm's management committee.

"At this point in my career I now look forward to returning full time to the practice of law with the firm," Böer said in a statement.

The firm said in its announcement that Rothman, a partner in Foley's Milwaukee headquarters, was picked to succeed Böer by the management committee last fall. Rothman spent the past nine years on the management committee and is the former chair of the firm's transactional and securities practice. He has focused his practice on corporate transactions and business law.

"As part of my agenda for the firm, I plan to focus a significant amount of time promoting continued innovation as we work tirelessly to ensure that our services remain closely aligned with the rapidly evolving and complex needs of our clients," Rothman said in a statement.

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