Don Lents is stepping down as chairman of Bryan Cave in October and will be replaced by Therese Pritchard, the first woman to lead the firm since its founding in St. Louis in 1873, and only the fourth woman to head one of the 50 largest U.S. law firms.
Lents, 64, who will remain a partner in St. Louis and said he has no plans to retire, will have served two five-year terms when he passes the job to Pritchard, 60. Bryan Cave lawyers cannot serve in senior leadership positions after age 65, according to its partnership rules, and Lents will turn 65 in November.
Bryan Cave has grown substantially since Lents became chairman in 2004 — to $624 million in revenue from $384 million, to 1,100 lawyers from 775, to 2,250 total employees from 1,700. It has added 11 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.