Legal Business Blogs

Clydes sees run of departures after City corporate team comes under scrutiny

Several corporate partners have resigned from Clyde & Co’s London office after what has been described as a ‘shoulder tapping exercise’ took place as the practice came under management scrutiny for under performance.

A review started at the end of last year and has since seen four partners leave, three of whom resigned in recent weeks, including one partner that was separately headhunted by a major US firm in what will be regarded as a loss to the firm.

The review came after the 319-partner firm lost a series of substantial mandates to rivals after the insurance market saw a surge in M&A deals over the last 12 months.

It covered Clydes’ global corporate and commercial team but is believed to have focused particularly on transactional partners in the UK, leaving 14 in the group currently, including eight which just focus on corporate work. The firm has some 60 partners in its global corporate and commercial groups, including 30 in Europe.

Clydes has five main sector focuses – insurance; energy; infrastructure; trading and commodities; and transport – the review involved the firm looking at how the corporate and commercial practice could support these core areas better.

The firm has been one of the fastest-growing UK law firms in recent years with revenues growing 8% to £395m in 2015, but insurance litigation specialists have often struggled to extend their practices into lead corporate roles for core clients.

One former partner commented: ‘Clydes is a big firm, people come and go. It has its brand it wants to protect and if you don’t fit in with the core business you may decide it’s not the place to be.’

Meanwhile, in an unrelated move two experienced litigators have also departed – data protection and cyber security head Margaret Tofalides, who is set to join Thomson Reuters in an in-house role, and disputes partner Julian Connerty, who joined Signature Litigation in September.

Clydes declined to comment on the review.,