Two of the founders of Clifford Chance‘s (CC’s) Australian arm, including the firm’s Sydney managing partner, are stepping down from their roles at the Magic Circle firm.
Today (9 February) CC confirmed Sydney managing partner Mark Pistilli and Danny Simmons, who had also helped launch the office, were departing.
Although Australian media reported the pair will be on gardening leave until the end of June, a CC spokesperson told Legal Business they will continue to be ‘in and out of the office’ until then.
Pistilli will be succeeded in the managing partner post by partner Diana Chang, who joined the firm with Pistilli from Chang Pistilli & Simmons, one of two boutique firms taken over by CC five years ago for its Australia launch.
CC and Allen & Overy were the first major UK firms to enter Australia, seeking to hone in on opportunities afforded by the mining boom, with both establishing offices in Sydney and Perth in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
The team currently has 17 partners and over 70 lawyers focusing on cross-border M&A and complex financial and capital-markets transactions, as well as disputes and Australian antitrust and regulatory matters.
The firm has tripled the number of lawyers in its Australian practice over the past four years while it also made up two Australia-based partners in its 2015 promotions in Perth and Sydney.
A statement from the firm said: ‘Mark and Danny have made a valuable contribution to the firm over the past five years as, together, we have established a strong and growing practice in Australia. They have now decided that the time is right for them to step down to pursue new opportunities outside the firm.’
‘Our Australian offices play an important role in the firm’s global and regional strategy and we will continue to develop our capability, building on the significant investments we have made since opening in 2011.’