Senior SJ Berwin partner steps down

Fund formation guru Jonathan Blake has stepped down as senior partner at SJ Berwin to focus on developing the private equity practice he founded, with Stephen Kon taking over.

SJ Berwin's Jonathan Blake has stepped down as senior partner to focus on his role as international head of the funds practice.

EU and competition head Stephen Kon will take over from Blake on May 1st after defeating litigation partner Hilton Mervis in a two-man contest.

Blake announced last month that he would not seek a third term as senior partner. He first became senior partner in December 2005 and served two three-year terms in the role.

Blake joined SJ Berwin in 1982 and prior to becoming senior partner founded the firm’s private equity and private funds practices and was later head of the firm's corporate department.

In November Private Equity International named Blake as one of the 100 most influential people in global private equity over the last decade.

SJ Berwin abandoned a merger with US firm Proskauer Rose in late 2010 after nine months of talks. Proskauer raided the London firm’s funds talent last year, appointing six associates in September to join funds partners Nigel van Zyl and Oliver Rochman who defected to Proskauer’s London office in July.

In the New Year SJ Berwin made a string of appointments including four new partners. These included Ettore Scandale from R&P Legal and Davide Proverbio from Norton Rose.