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CC pushes on with stateside lateral spree adding disputes trio in Washington

As a season of disputes and regulatory hiring for international firms in Washington DC continues apace, Clifford Chance (CC) has continued its significant period of lateral hires in the US by adding two partners and a counsel to its Washington litigation practice.

And with the arrival of partners Joshua Berman and Glen Donath, alongside counsel Joshua Fitzhugh, CC has also ensured that 40% of its 22-strong US litigation contingent are former federal prosecutors.

Berman joins after a tenure as deputy general counsel of the US Department of Commerce, overseeing a global team of 350 lawyers. Previously, Berman acted as global co-chair of government investigations and white collar criminal defence at Chicago firm Katten Muchin Rosenman and also had a similar role at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

He has experience advising financial institutions, investment funds and insurance companies on a wide range of civil and criminal issues, such as economic sanctions and anti-money laundering.

Donath, who also joins from Katten where he worked with Berman and was also a partner at Sonnenschein, is predominantly a white collar criminal defence lawyer. In addition, he had roles roles at the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and DC disputes outfit Williams & Connolly.

At Williams & Connolly, Donath represented President Clinton on a number of occasions, including the Lewinsky investigation and during impeachment proceedings.

Fitzhugh arrives at CC after six years in-house as head of trade controls at defence contractor BAE Systems.

David DiBari, managing partner of CC’s Washington DC office, told Legal Business that the firm’s US business is currently in ‘growth mode’. However, he added: ‘There’s a lot of lateral movement in the US market with partners frequently changing positions, but we don’t play in that space. We look for long-term institutional hires.’

He also confirmed that CC is looking to add more commercial litigation and white collar capacity to its New York and DC offices in the coming months. ‘We do not have a target number’, he said. ‘It’s all client-driven and talent-driven. The two really seem to coalesce.’

These hires continue a sustained run of lateral hires in the US for CC since the start of 2016. In addition to Donath and Berman, the firm has added three other disputes partners: Daniel Silver, former deputy chief of the criminal division in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York; Janet Whittaker, from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; and the former chief counsel to SEC chair Mary Jo White, Robert Rice – all last summer. In addition, the firm has added six other partners to its New York and Washington teams.

While the hire of former senior government and regulatory officials is not a recent development for international firms in Washington, activity has been particularly frenetic of late. In March, Linklaters hired former principal associate deputy attorney general Matt Axelrod as a partner, while Allen & Overy added Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft partners Gregory Mocek and Anthony Mansfield to its DC office in January.

Meanwhile there has also been significant wholesale development among Global 100 firms in Washington this year, with Clyde & Co opening a new office in the capital, while US disputes specialist Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan was confirmed to be in merger discussions with Williams & Connolly last month.