Skip to content
Q&A With Tom Thesing

“The story of Sidley’s growth in London is very much connected to the growth of our global business.”


We recently caught up with Tom Thesing, managing partner of Sidley’s office in London and head of the London Corporate group, who spoke about the office’s 50th anniversary and the opportunities for growth that lie ahead.

Congratulations on the London office’s 50th anniversary. What are the plans to celebrate this milestone?

We have arranged a number of events, including one for clients and friends of the firm in June at the National Portrait Gallery, which houses a wonderful collection of portraits that span six centuries of England’s history. We will also be holding our European Lawyer Conference in London in July.

In addition, we will be focusing on our office well-being objectives and our partnership with the YMCA London City and North. The YMCA is opening a Youth Hub in Islington this year called LandAid House, which will provide counseling and holistic support for London’s youth to help them thrive and grow in their local communities. Our team will be able to engage with those utilizing the Youth Hub to provide career guidance and support, as well as work experience opportunities at Sidley’s office.

Our London office is also deeply committed to pro bono work, including assisting individuals under the firm’s access to justice projects. We support the most vulnerable in society by helping mothers in prison to see their children, and by representing individuals in appeals to obtain disability benefits. Through our charities and nonprofits program, we provide organizations with free legal advice and support, enabling them to focus on their important work of delivering essential public services to those in need.

How would you describe the culture of the London office and how it has evolved over the years?

I think the single biggest change since I’ve joined, really, is the growth of the office. I’ve been in London since 1998, and in my 25 years here, we’ve seen very significant growth in the team and also in terms of the work that we do out of the London office. We are very much knitted into Sidley’s global network, and in keeping with the firm’s global culture, we’ve been able to attract significant talent to the London team.

London is a hub for the firm’s cross-border work, including transactional work, disputes, restructurings, as well as regulatory and antitrust matters. It is often the case that we are the bridge to the rest of the world for our U.S. clients, and similarly, we collaborate closely with our colleagues in Asia on global matters. So, that’s a significant part of our growth and strategy in London.

Which practices and industries have been central to the growth of the London office over the years?

The story of Sidley’s growth in London is very much connected to the growth of our global business. We started off with a fairly focused offering in the early days in structured finance, securitization, and adjunct services around that — and while we remain pre-eminent in those fields, we have also since added talent in private equity, M&A, litigation, disputes, regulatory and investigations, capital markets, insurance, life sciences, energy and infrastructure, and restructuring. In short, we are working in every major global practice group across all industries. The breadth of what we do in London is an extension of our firm’s global platform. We’ve had more than 10 years of consecutive growth in the business, and that’s a testament to the contributions of all of our team members.

On a personal note, what are some of your favorite qualities about the London office?

Really, it’s the people and developing that talent. We have a first-class team and it is most gratifying to me to have the chance to be part of a growing business and a growth story. We have a wonderful firm with more than 150 years of history, and we in London are just on the younger end of that, if I can put it that way. But what I’ve enjoyed most is being part of a team that has participated in the growth of the business over the last 25 years, in my own case, and the trajectory of opportunities for our lawyers that come from that growth.

I have been a beneficiary of Sidley’s talent development from the moment I joined the firm, and it is incredibly exciting to see new partners get announced and know that they have experienced the same kind of support I did.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our Built to Lead® program, which we launched globally in 2022. It has exceeded all of our high expectations. Through the program, we are creating the next generation of business-savvy, boardroom-ready, client-focused leaders, and many of our London associates have told me it has been essential in developing their business leadership skills.

The London office is also quite musically talented. Can you share a bit about the Sidley London band and the Sidley choir?

I wish I had any musical talent to be able to contribute to that, because it is one of the great things that the team does. We have a global band called Sidley Rocks that comprises partners who come together and play, on occasion, at partners’ meetings. London is sort of the spiritual leader. Sidley partner Leonard Ng coordinates the band on the European side. There’s also a Sidley choir in our London office, the Sidley Singers, led by partner Sara George, which has performed for colleagues. They have regular rehearsals in the office. It’s really nice when you see people who are as talented as they are at advising clients on legal matters bonding over shared experience and doing something that they don’t normally do in their day jobs.