Cravath Swaine announced a new leadership change last week, replacing Evan Chester, the lawyer who created a storm amid legal circles with his Forbes magazine article last year about killing the billable hour.
The American Lawyer reprots that Deputy presiding partner C. Allen Parker will become the firm’s presiding partner in January and that the man who currently holds that title, Evan Chesler, will move into the newly created position of firm chairman.
Parker, who joined Cravath in 1984 and rose to partner six years later, has worked his way through the firm’s leadership ranks since then. He managed the corporate department’s associates from 2001 to 2004, led the department from 2009 to 2010, and became deputy presiding partner in January 2007, when Chesler succeeded litigator Robert Joffe in the firm’s top management post.
As deputy presiding partner, Parker has helped Chesler, who maintains an active and high-profile litigation practice, run Cravath’s day-to-day operations. Prior to 2006, the firm did not typically name a deputy presiding partner until closer to a leadership transition, according to an article in sibling publication New York Law Journal. The firm said at that time that Chesler needed a second-in-command sooner than usual because of his busy trial schedule.
Parker will become the firm’s fifteenth presiding partner, according to a press release Cravath issued Thursday. Over the past several decades, leaders have rotated through the firm’s top position in terms ranging in length from three years to 19 years, with Joffe’s predecessor, Samuel Butler, serving the longest.
Butler, who stepped down as presiding partner in 1999, was the driving force behind lowering Cravath’s retirement age from 70 to 65, The American Lawyer reported in 2006. The firm’s retirement policy also dictates that presiding partners step down at age 63, an age Chesler will reach next month. (Butler retired in 2003 and has been special counsel at the firm since 2004; Joffe died in January 2010 and was recognized later that year as an American Lawyer Lifetime Achiever).