DLA Piper CEO returns to Sheffield for lecture and honorary professorship
Sir Nigel Knowles, the joint global CEO of law firm DLA Piper, is returning to his Northern roots today (1 November 2010) to receive an honorary professorship from his alma mater, the University of Sheffield, as well as give a lecture on managing change within a business.
During his visit, Sir Nigel will be made Honorary Professor of the School of Law, as a tribute to his success in the field following his studies at the University. His lecture, which will see him share the key to this success, will form part of the University's Roberts Lecture series and will focus on Sir Nigel's experiences of 'Alignment, Leadership and Management,' using DLA Piper as a case study.
Like DLA Piper, which has grown from local roots into a global leader, Sir Nigel started his career as a trainee lawyer in Sheffield and has since gone on to become joint CEO of DLA Piper's global operation.
After joining the management team in 1990, Sir Nigel led successive mergers that transformed a local firm into one of the biggest legal practices in the world, culminating with the largest transatlantic law merger in recent history in January 2005, when DLA integrated with US-based firms Piper Rudnick and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP. The firm recently topped the MergerMarket M&A activity league table; DLA Piper was the most active law firm globally, with a total of 138 deals worth a total of $8.1bn.
Despite its international reach, DLA Piper continues to retain a strong regional presence with offices in Leeds and Sheffield, and works closely within the local community acting for local businesses, including the University.
Sir Nigel said: "It is an honour to be invited to return to my University and receive this honorary professorship. I have great personal ties with the city and University, and have been proud to watch its growth and success over the years.
"At a challenging time in the economic cycle, we need to engender - more than ever - a culture of entrepreneurism, and universities are integral in this process. The idea that the engine room of the economy is solely based in the City is simply incorrect. Bright, ambitious, commercially-minded people from all over the country are the raw materials for a healthy economy - as the sons and daughters of Sheffield show every day. Education institutions, such as the University of Sheffield, with a strong grasp of the increasingly international nature of business, are the refineries that ensure we have the optimum fuel to move out of the recession and back into growth. Corporate UK relies on a stream of able graduates and so it gives me enormous pleasure to give something back as the University of Sheffield continues its efforts."
Professor Joanna Shapland, Head of the School of Law at the University of Sheffield, said: "The University of Sheffield prides itself on producing forward thinking and independent graduates. We are very aware that contemporary commerce is no longer local, but international and we tailor our teaching to reflect that. We welcome Sir Nigel Knowles back to the University and hope his success will be an inspiration to both students and graduates alike."
Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "The University is proud of its links with leading global companies such as DLA Piper. We are, therefore, particularly pleased to be appointing an honorary professorship to Sir Nigel, a most distinguished alumnus and leading figure in the world of law."
Sir Nigel will be speaking at 6pm on Monday 1 November 2010 in Firth Hall, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield.
Notes for Editors: DLA Piper is a global legal practice with over 3,700 lawyers across 66 offices and 28 countries. From its offices across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, legal and business advisers provide a range of services to local, regional and international businesses. For further information about the organisation and services, please visit the link below.
For further information please contact: Shemina Davis, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2225339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Victoria Pourzand, Media and PR Manager, DLA Piper, on 0113 369 2669 or email email@example.com