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Womble Names Benn Chair and CEO-Elect

May 16, 2024, 08:00 AM

Womble Bond Dickinson (US) announced that Merrick Benn has been elected US Chair and CEO, effective January 1, 2025. Currently a member of the firm’s Global Board, Benn will succeed Betty Temple, who has served as US Chair and CEO since 2016. They will work closely with the Firm Management Committee to ensure a successful transition.
A global finance partner, Benn has 25 years of experience advising clients in equipment finance transactions, including secured financings, cross-border transactions, and structured finance. Since joining Womble in 2009, he has held many prominent leadership positions, which, in addition to his practice, contribute to his strong financial acumen and understanding of the firm's business operations.
Benn was first elected to the Firm Management Committee in 2017, serving for three terms. During that time, he was appointed to the Executive Committee, named US Vice Chair, and served as Capital Markets Practice Group Leader and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee. Benn is also a former member of the Finance & Administration, Operations, and Budget Committees, the latter of which he chaired for two years.
As US Chair and CEO, Benn will lead the Firm Management Committee, which is responsible for domestic strategy, operations, profitability, and structural organization. He will also co-chair the Global Board of Womble Bond Dickinson (International) Limited alongside UK Managing Partner Paul Stewart, overseeing joint business development and inter-firm collaboration.
“An accomplished lawyer, fearless leader, and true problem solver, Merrick exemplifies the very best of Womble. As US Vice Chair and a member of the Firm Management and Executive Committees, he has been deeply involved in every important decision we’ve made in recent years. He has proven his dedication to Womble and our clients time and time again, and I have every confidence that he will lead the firm to even greater heights,” said Temple. “I would also like to thank our attorneys and legal professionals for their service to the firm. I am immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last nine years and look forward to navigating the firm through a successful transition.”
“Womble achieved great success under Betty’s leadership and continues to be on a tremendous growth trajectory. Our increasing prominence as a leading global law firm has attracted high-caliber talent and fueled strategic expansion into new markets,” said Benn. “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead Womble through its next chapter, building on our strengths and furthering the commitment to our core values – integrity, devotion to client service, and respect for the individual.”
Temple led Womble through a period of transformational expansion, including its combination with UK-based Bond Dickinson, which created an Am Law 100 firm with more than 1,000 lawyers in 32 offices internationally. She also championed lateral and team growth in areas of strong and increasing client demand, a strategic approach that added further depth to the firm's energy and natural resources, global business, financial services, business litigation, and intellectual property practices, among others.
“Betty was pivotal to our transatlantic combination and the ongoing success of our partnership. I can confidently speak on behalf of Womble UK and express our tremendous gratitude for her leadership,” said Stewart. “I anticipate a seamless transition as Merrick steps into his role as Co-Chair of the Global Board, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to bring together colleagues from the UK and US to benefit our growing shared client base.”
During her tenure, Womble reported growth in all major financial performance metrics, including a 42% increase in gross revenue and a 30% increase in revenue per lawyer. The firm also?expanded into many of the country’s largest legal markets and innovation hubs – nine in as many years – including Boston, Denver, Houston, Nashville, New York, and San Francisco.
Temple’s appointment in 2016 represented several significant milestones for Womble, including its first female chair and the youngest chair in firm history. At that time, fewer than 10% of Am Law 100 firms were led by women.

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