Lesley MacDonagh

Colour photo of Lesley MacDonagh

Lesley MacDonagh

In a sector known for its macho, long-hours culture, the appointment of a woman as managing partner of a top 10 law firm in 1995 was striking. The successes of Lovells during MacDonagh’s time as managing partner are proof (if such proof was ever needed) that a woman can lead an elite law firm. And lead it well. MacDonagh’s life away from the office evidence that it is also possible (as a woman) to combine a family with elite law firm management (such a combination seeming to be a given for men in law firms).

Steven Vaughan

In 1995, Lesley MacDonagh (1952- ) was appointed as the managing partner of Lovell White Durrant (now Hogan Lovells), the first time that a woman had been chosen to lead a top 10 law firm in England & Wales. At the time of her appointment, the firm comprised 1400 partners and associate lawyers spread across nine offices in Europe and Asia. By the time Ms MacDonagh stepped down as managing partner, 11 years later, Lovells had doubled in size, due mostly to its merger with German firm Boesebeck Droste that MacDonagh led at the beginning of the millennium. She was voted ‘Legal Business Managing Partner of the Year’ for the year 2000.

The full version of this landmark is written by Steven Vaughan.

Learn More

eFinancialCareers Ltd., ‘Day in the Life: Lesley MacDonagh, Managing Partner, International Law Firm’ (22 April 2002) https://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/7405/day-in-the-life-lesley-macdonagh-managing-partner-international-law-firm/

The Independent, ‘First Woman Among Equals’  http://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/first-woman-among-equals-1572056.html

The Law Society Gazette, ‘Glass Ceiling Shattered— Lesley MacDonagh the First Woman to Become Managing Partner of a Top Ten City Firm’ (8 February 1995) https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/glass-ceiling-shattered-lesley-macdonagh-the-first-woman-to-become-managing-partner-of-a-top-ten-city-firm-/19844.article