Authentic leaders talking openly about themselves and their journey so far
Sir Nigel Knowles
Global Co-Chief Executive Officer & Managing PartnerDLA Piper
Sir Nigel Knowles has turned DLA Piper from regional law firm Broomhead & Neals, based in Sheffield, to the largest business law firm in the world; culminating in its 2004 merger with Piper Rudnick of the US.
Growing up within a close family in Yorkshire, Sir Nigel - who received his knighthood in 2009 - credits his father as an early role model and the family greengrocer business as the starting point of his early understanding and passion for business. He talks about his later role models as his career gathered pace and those mentors and sponsors who offered him invaluable insight and guidance.
Married and with three children, Sir Nigel strives to spend as much good quality time with his family as possible and is happy to share his insights into how he manages and delivers this.
Sir Nigel Knowles is Global Co-Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of DLA Piper. He has been Managing Partner since 1996 and in that time has led DLA Piper's growth from a regional UK law firm to what is now the world's largest global business law firm. Globally, DLA Piper has a turnover in excess of £1bn with over 4,200 lawyers located in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.
Sir Nigel joined the Yorkshire firm, Broomheads, as a trainee in 1978 and quickly moved into the management sphere, progressing towards his appointment as Managing Partner in 1996. Since that time, Sir Nigel has led the practice through a host of successful mergers. From a largely UK presence the firm has expanded into Continental Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Sir Nigel's leadership was instrumental in the single largest transatlantic law merger in recent history when DLA integrated with US-based firms Piper Rudnick and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP in 2005. In the same year Sir Nigel was named Partner of the Year by Legal Week and DLA Piper was named Global Law Firm of the Year at The Lawyer Awards and Law Firm of the Year at the Legal Business Awards.
Sir Nigel was appointed Chairman and Non-Executive Director for Blenheim Capital Services Limited in 2010.
DLA Piper's reputation in the field of addressing the broader responsible business agenda is increasingly an important part of Sir Nigel Knowles' ambition for the firm. Sir Nigel is a former Chairman of the Managing Partners' Forum; Chairman of the Legal Sector Alliance which emerged from the May Day Business Summit on Climate Change; a member of Business in the Community's Environment Leadership team; and a member of the steering committee of The Prince of Wales Rainforest Project.
Sir Nigel is a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford. He was also appointed Visiting Professor of the University of Sheffield in November 2010 and received An Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from the University of Sheffield in July 2011.
Sir Nigel is married with three children. He is a graduate of Sheffield University.