Locke Lord has elected David Taylor, the managing partner of the firm’s Houston office, to succeed Jerry Clements as chair.
Taylor, a corporate and securities lawyer who has spent his entire legal career at Locke Lord, will take over the position on January 1, the firm said Monday. The outgoing Clements has led the firm since 2006.
Taylor was unanimously nominated by the firm’s leadership succession committee and executive committee before being confirmed by the partnership.
The change in leadership doesn’t signal a change in Locke Lord’s strategy, Taylor told Big Law Business.
“I think it’ll be continuing a lot of what Jerry espoused,” he said, citing in particular the firm’s culture of “cross-selling” and knowing “what other people in the firm do.”
“We make sure that partner compensation is based somewhat on cross-selling and cross-collaboration,” he said. “To the extent that you get other people involved and bringing in additional types of work, you will be rewarded.”
Taylor also said he plans to build on Locke Lord’s existing strengths. The firm’s key practice areas include insurance, financial services, science and technology, energy and infrastructure, private equity, and public finance, and its regional strengths lie in Texas, the midwest and the northeast, according to Taylor.
“Any growth would be very strategic,” he said. “We’re not necessarily in it just to become Dentons.”
Taylor’s election follows a year-long leadership succession plan that began when Clements, a commercial litigator, announced her intent to step down last year.
Clements, who presided over the 2007 merger of Locke Liddell & Sapp—she was the managing partner of that firm—and Lord Bissell & Brook and then guided the new firm through a merger with Edwards Wildman Palmer in 2015, will become chair emeritus and serve as an advisor to firm leadership.
During her tenure, Locke Lord moved up in The American Lawyer’s rankings from spot 110 to spot 60 and its annual revenue increased from $222 million to $559 million, according to the firm. The firm currently has over 700 lawyers in 20 offices.
Taylor joined Locke Lord in 1988 after graduating from the University of Texas School of Law. He currently serves on the firm’s executive committee and as chair of its finance committee, and has previously held leadership positions in the firm’s strategic growth, development and recruiting teams.
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