Clifford Chance Slims Down With Nearly 50 Partners Gone Since March

Clifford Chance has seen the departure of nearly 50 partners since the beginning of March, it has emerged. London and New York have been most affected by the exits, which include normal retirements and those choosing to leave as well as those affected by its partner restructuring.

Some 18 partners have left the firm's London headquarters since March, five of whom came from the corporate practice -- including highly regarded partner Adam Signy, who quit for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

The capital markets, tax and banking practices have each seen two partners go, while securities, projects and real estate have so far lost one partner apiece. Four litigators have left in London, including arbitration specialist Nic Fletcher, who joined Berwin Leighton Paisner last week.

In New York, comparing a list of the firm's LLP membership in March with details available now shows that 18 partners have gone -- the equivalent of around a quarter of the local practice.

The New York litigation practice has lost nine partners, with departures including global litigation chief Mark Kirsch, who was one of three Clifford Chance litigation partners to join Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

The New York corporate practice has seen five departures, with securities and capital markets also affected. Elsewhere, continental European partner headcount has declined by 12. The figures does not cover departures in Asia and the Middle East.

The breakdown came as Clifford Chance last week confirmed that its restructuring will result in its partnership shrinking by 15 percent between April 2009 and April 2010 -- equating to around 90 partners. The firm declined to comment.

(Source: U.K. Magazine Legal Week)

July 9, 2009

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