Legal Business

Magic Circle trio ask City staff to work from home as coronavirus crisis deepens

Magic Circle trio ask City staff to work from home as coronavirus crisis deepens

Allen & Overy (A&O), Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance have asked City staff to work from home in a bid to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

The moves come as the UK’s infection rate today [16 March] rose to 1,395 cases, 35 of which have proved fatal.

An A&O spokesperson said in a statement: ‘Allen & Overy is strongly encouraging all partners and staff in its London office to take advantage of its existing flexible working arrangements to work from home for the next few weeks in response to the spread of Covid-19. We are keeping the situation under constant review and have introduced various different working arrangements in other offices across our global network.’

Other measures the City giant has taken include international travel restrictions, in place since 1 March, cancelling larger meetings and encouraging other meetings to be handled remotely.

Slaughters has followed similar steps, asking all staff to work from home ‘where feasible to reduce overall numbers of people in the office and traveling to work.’ The arrangements will initially be in place until Friday 3rd April, with the situation kept under review, and follow a successful trial of working from home measures conducted at short notice last week.

Meanwhile CC, whose APAC employees have been working remotely for some time, has rolled out working from home for its UK, US, European and Middle East offices, and has business continuity procedures in place across all its offices.

A CC spokesperson said in a statement: ‘The firm is taking precautions seriously and is closely following all relevant government and WHO advice to ensure that we are ready to adapt to the latest guidance. Our primary focus is on ensuring the health and wellbeing of all our staff and their families.’

The London office of Linklaters, meanwhile, remains open, although a spokesperson for the firm said people are not expected to come into the office if they feel uncomfortable doing so. The firm ran a mass test last week in order for people to experience remote working. The firm has shut its Milan and Madrid office, while its Paris staff started working from home from today and its German teams will follow suit from tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Baker McKenzie has moved its London and Belfast offices to full remote working from today. A spokesperson for the firm said the offices will be closed ‘for all but essential services such as IT, couriers, post and printing so as to support the delivery of all client services, including closings and court hearings’. The firm will continue to ‘keep the position under close review’ but expected measures to be in place at least until the end of the month.

Last week, as law firms around the world were forced to take ever more radical steps in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, Reed Smith asked its staff to work from home as Taylor Wessing closed its London office altogether after a member of staff tested positive.

Legal Business

Dealwatch: CC beats Coronavirus jitters with two mandates as DLA drinks up Danone deal

Dealwatch: CC beats Coronavirus jitters with two mandates as DLA drinks up Danone deal

An ‘all over the place’ market which saw Coronavirus impact transactions did not stop Clifford Chance (CC) from advising on two high-profile mandates, as DLA Piper led on Danone’s acquisition of Harrogate Water.

CC advised US-based private equity investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its £400m acquisition of healthcare communications and public relations group Huntsworth. Huntsworth provides marketing and medical communication services to pharmaceutical companies and recently reported revenue of £264.9m for 2019.

The CC team was led by private equity partner Simon Tinkler and corporate partners Katherine Moir and Steven Fox. A team led by banking and finance partner David Robson advised the lending banks to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

A Debevoise & Plimpton team advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on the debt financing with a team led by Alan Davies. Ashurst advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch with a team led by Tom Mercer and Tim Rennie, while Hunstworth was advised by a Pinsent Masons team led by Gareth Jones and Rob Hutchings.

Tinkler told Legal Business: ‘It is part of an increasing trend in private equity – to take companies off the public market. There’s been a lot of commentary at the moment about the fact that there aren’t many new companies coming into the market but equally there’s an increasing number of companies that are already on the market being taken private.’

He added: ‘Last week, as a consequence of Coronavirus, the market was all over the place with big falls in New York, Asia and London but despite that we managed to get the transaction over the line and a lot of people weren’t expecting that after what they saw happen in the market.’

Elsewhere, CC also acted for BlackRock in its first European private equity investment, as the asset management firm acquired Anglo-French luxury brand Olivier Creed through a fund called Long Term Private Capital (LTPC), set up in 2019. The value of the deal is undisclosed.

BlackRock currently manages a portfolio of $7.4 trillion worth of investments and recently moved into the private equity business. In 2019, it purchased New York-based brand management company Authentic Brands Group for $875m.

The CC team was led by Nick Hughes and Chris Sullivan. A King & Spalding team advised Olivier Creed led by corporate partner Derek Meilman in London and supported by Paris-based corporate partner Laurent Bensaid.

Finally, DLA advised Danone on a majority stake acquisition in Harrogate-based independent bottled water producer Harrogate Water.

French company Danone is a multinational food product corporation with a portfolio of brands including Volvic and Evian.

The DLA team was led by London corporate partner Martin Nelson-Jones and included partner Daniel Colgan, who advised on the antitrust aspects from Brussels. Harrogate Water was advised by Black Solicitors, led by Nigel Hoyel.

The value of the deal is undisclosed and the deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Legal Business

LLP accounts: Pension costs hurt CC profits as A&O leadership sees pay increases

LLP accounts: Pension costs hurt CC profits as A&O leadership sees pay increases

Operating profit at Clifford Chance (CC) UK LLP fell 5% to £260m in the year to 30 April 2019 amid rising pension costs while management at City rival Allen & Overy (A&O) saw a 8% pay rise to £16m, the two firms’ recently published accounts have revealed.

The fall in profits at CC’s LLP – which includes its UK headquarters and eight of its overseas branches – came despite a 4% global revenue increase to £1.693bn as the firm added £70m to its top line.

Operating profit from all of the firm’s 32 offices rose by just £2m to £628m, with the accounts showing a £11m loss in relation to its global pension scheme. The firm’s pension deficit stood at £284m at the end of the financial year, slightly up on £283m the previous year. The firm aims to eliminate the deficit by the end of May 2026, with £17m to be paid into the scheme in the current financial year.

Overall staff costs rose 8% to £766m, while staff costs in the firm’s UK, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Moscow, Seoul and Shanghai branches (which are part of the LLP) rose 17% to £104m, as pension costs in those offices tripled to £6m.

Average staff headcount grew by 200 to 6,208 overall and by 94 to 957 in the LLP. CC’s highest-earning partner received £3m, while the remuneration of the 13 members of the firm’s executive leadership group was £22m; both figures were flat on the previous year.

CC’s accounts also provided a breakdown of the income from different groups of the firm’s clients, showing progress on managing partner Matthew Layton’s long-stated aim of reducing the firm’s reliance on banks. Billings from financial investors rose 8% to £519m, while banks provided £550m, up 4% on 2018, and corporates £624m, up 2%. It means banks accounted for 32% of the firm’s revenue, down from around 50% ten years ago.

Speaking to Legal Business last year, Layton (pictured) said: ‘We saw from December [2018] onwards some volatility resulting from the geopolitical environment: China-US trade wars, slowdown in China and Eurozone growth and the US shutdown and continued uncertainty [over Brexit]. Despite that we had a very strong year.’

Meanwhile, A&O benefited from a foreign exchange gain of £9m, which contributed to 5% revenue growth to £1.627m from £1.552m in 2018, as well as an 8% uptick in pre-tax profit to £708m from £653m the previous year. Profit per equity partner (PEP) was up 1% to £1.66m from last year’s £1.51m, excluding foreign exchange gains and last year’s £21m in exceptional property costs. The firm highlighted more than 20% revenue increase in its Advanced Delivery & Solutions businesses as well as strong performance from its banking, corporate and ICM practices.

After an arduous year involving failed transatlantic merger talks with O’Melveny & Myers, the firm’s management team, including senior partner Wim Dejonghe and managing partner Andrew Ballheimer took home £16m, an 8% increase on the £14.8m they earned the previous year.

The results were slightly marred by staff costs inflated by £49m to £610m from £561m in 2018 due to headcount and pay increases while other operating costs were down by £5m to £308m as the exchange gains kicked in.  Revenue rose across the board geographically as the UK generated £633.3m, up from £620.1m in 2018; continental Europe generated £512.5m, up from £491.9m last year; Asia Pacific’s income increased to £244.5m from £221.7m; the Americas generated £136.4m (£129.4m in 2018); and Middle East and Africa saw an uptick to £100.2m from £89m.

The partnership saw a slight decrease in headcount to 536 from 538 while the number of fee-earners increased to 2,517 from 2,434 in 2018.

The firm had unused committed bank facilities of £150m. Partners’ capital contributions totalled £138m compared with £134m last year and subordinated loans totalled £56m compared with £56m last year.

On the day election fever struck the UK generally, the firm announced on 12 December Dejonghe would be standing for a second term as senior partner, up against Philip Bowden, the City giant’s well-regarded banking co-head. The managing partner spot is more hotly-contested after Ballheimer said earlier that month he would retire from A&O at the end of his current term on 30 April 2020.

The London candidates are global head of projects Gareth Price and litigation head Karen Seward, two high-profile figures who will be considered serious propositions. Vicki Liu, the managing partner of Hong Kong and APAC and regional head of banking, has also thrown in, as has Dirk Meeus, the Belgium managing partner and co-head of global corporate in Brussels.

The board comprises Dejonghe, Ballheimer and six independent partner directors: Paris-based Laëtitia Bernard, Denise Gibson, David Lee and Daniel Shuman in London, Christian Saunders in Dubai, and Tim Stevens in Amsterdam. Pamela Chepiga in New York and Roger Lui in Hong Kong are the two co-opted board members.

The executive committee is made up of Dejonghe, Ballheimer, David Benton, Bowden, Ian Ingram-Johnson, Astrid Kruger, Liu, Meeus, Seward and Barbara Stettner.

Legal Business

Deal watch: Simpson Thacher conjures Blackstone and Alibaba mandates as Linklaters and CC lead on British Steel takeover

Deal watch: Simpson Thacher conjures Blackstone and Alibaba mandates as Linklaters and CC lead on British Steel takeover

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has picked up two high-profile mandates advising Blackstone on the acquisition of MagicLab alongside the Hong Kong listing of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba.

Elsewhere, Linklaters and Clifford Chance (CC) led on Chinese steelmaker Jingye Steel and Iron’s acquisition of British Steel.

Alibaba this week said it was set to raise up to $13.4bn in a secondary listing in Hong Kong, including an international offering of 487.5m ordinary shares and a Hong Kong public offering of 12.5m ordinary shares.

Simpson Thacher is advising Alibaba with a team led by Chris Wong and Daniel Fertig in Hong Kong. Chinese firm Fangda Partners is also advising the group on legal matters pertaining to Chinese law.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, meanwhile, is advising the underwriters with a team led by M&A partners Teresa Ko, Calvin Lai and Xu Jason. King & Wood Mallesons is advising the underwriters on Chinese law.

Earlier in the week, Jingye Steel agreed to acquire British Steel’s steelworks in Scunthorpe, UK mills at Teeside Beam Mill, Skinningrove and its subsidiary businesses in France and the Netherlands. Following months of uncertainty, the sale is said to have saved 24,000 jobs in the UK. Jingye is planning on investing £1.2 billion over the next decade as well as upgrading plants and machinery.

Linklaters advised Jignye with a team led by London corporate partners Chris Staples and Hugo Stolkin, Hong Kong partner Crystal Chen and restructuring and insolvency partner Matthew Harding.

Staples commented: ‘This is a landmark deal with Jingye’s commitment to significant investment in British Steel ensuring the long-term future of the business.’

The official receiver and special managers of British Steel were advised by CC, with partners Philip Hertz, David Lewis, Nick Rees and Iain White in London leading on the transaction. Paris partner Laurent Schoenstein and Amsterdam Partner Greg Crookes led on the sale of British Steel France Rail Holdings and the sale of FN Steel.

Jingye is a multi-industry group specialising in steel and iron as well as in powder metallurgy, 3D printing, tourism, hotels, and real estate. It distributes to 80 countries, producing 15 million tonnes of steel a year for an annual turnover of about £10bn.

The deal, signed on 10 November 2019, is subject to conditions such as regulatory approvals and employee consultation procedures.

Simpson Thacher also won a mandate advising Blackstone on its proposed acquisition of a majority stake in MagicLab for the value of approximately $3bn.MagicLab owns and operates dating and social networking apps including Badoo, Bumble, Chappy and Lumen. Founder and CEO Andrey Andreev is selling his stake and stepping down from his role as CEO and will be replaced by Whitney Wolfe Herd.

The Simpson Thacher team was led by M&A partner Anthony Vernace and included M&A partner Robert Langdon and corporate partner Clare Gaskell.

Baker McKenzie is advising the majority shareholders of MagicLab. The team is led by M&A partner David Scott and includes partners Leif King and Lawrence Lee in Silicon Valley.

Scott commented: ‘MagicLab is a fantastic business, with terrific brands and huge potential. The Blackstone acquisition is a great opportunity to further develop the platform. It’s been a real pleasure to partner with Andrey and the MagicLab team on this one.’

The deal is expected to close early next year.

Finally, Latham & Watkins advised Interswitch and its shareholders on a partnership with Visa. Visa will acquire a minority equity stake in the business which is valued at $1bn, making it one of the most valuable African Fintech businesses.

The team was led by London corporate partners Kem Ihenacho and Linzi Thomas and included partners James Inness and Christian McDermott. A Morrison & Foerster team led by London corporate partner Andrew Boyd advised Visa. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Legal Business

Legal 500 Data: Behind the story

Legal 500 Data: Behind the story

This issue holds our annual Global 100 survey results, but which Global 100 firms top The Legal 500 for number of top-tier recommendations?

To view the editorial commentary of the rankings go to:

Legal Business

CC reveals first Magic Circle 2018/19 results as PEP grows just 1% and revenue nears £1.7bn

CC reveals first Magic Circle 2018/19 results as PEP grows just 1% and revenue nears £1.7bn

Clifford Chance (CC)’s managing partner Matthew Layton spoke of ‘times of investment’ and pointed to his firm’s four-year performance after it followed up on last year’s strong financials with a muted 1% rise in profit per equity partner (PEP) to £1.62m.

Kicking off Magic Circle law firms’ financial reporting season for the second year in a row, CC announced today (2 July) a 4% revenue increase to £1.693bn in 2018/19, meaning it added £70m to its top line, but profit failed to keep pace rising by just 2% to £637m.

This year’s results follow a 2017/18 that saw CC post arguably the best performance in its peer group, hiking PEP 16% to £1.6m amid a 5% revenue growth to £1.623bn.

‘You have to look at the four-year picture,’ Layton told Legal Business. ‘PEP growth will compare very favourably with the market if you look at the four-year results.’ CC has grown revenue 25%, PEP 45% and profit 42% since the introduction of Layton’s global strategy in 2015, built around three key pillars – bringing CC together around key clients relationship, creating an inclusive culture, focusing on tech and best delivery strategies.

Layton described 2018/19 as a ‘very strong year’ for the firm despite some volatility from December onwards amid the China-US trade wars, a slowdown in Chinese and Eurozone growth, the US government’s shutdown and continued uncertainty over Brexit.

He pointed to some ‘important investments’ as part of the firm’s innovation and best delivery programme. They included establishing a separate business entity, Applied Solutions, to develop and market tech tools for clients; launching a legal tech innovation hub in Singapore, Create+65; and injecting money into legaltech services automation platform Reynen Court. The firm also grew the headcount of its nearshoring centre in Newcastle to around 80 from 60 at the time of its acquisition in February last year.

Asked whether he expected a faster profit increase in future as these investments pay off, Layton said he was primarily looking at continued revenue growth: ‘The objective of being the global law firm of choice is about investing to meet client expectations. We look at opportunities to invest as and when they arise.’ However he added: ‘I am confident we will see continued profit and PEP growth going forward.’

He also pointed to the successes in his goal of reducing the firm’s reliance on banks, with revenue coming from alternative financial investors rising by 20% to about £525m in 2018/19 – 31% of the firm’s turnover. Revenue from banks increased by 6% and they now account for 32% of billings compared to about 50% ten years ago, with corporates bringing in the remaining 37%. ‘We have worked hard to see that balance shift,’ said Layton. ‘I would expect financial investors to continue to move up. A third each is the right balance.’

The firm’s 878-lawyer London office grew revenue at a slower pace than the firm globally, its top line rising by 3% to £556m. Its 528-strong Asia Pacific business was the standout performer with a 10% growth in revenue to £307m thanks to a strong showing of its Chinese offices, a busy Hong Kong IPO market and financial investors’ activity in the area.

Another focus of Layton’s strategy, the firm’s American offices turned over £226m, up 5% on the previous financial year and 45% on 2015. The firm now has 77 partners and around 300 lawyers in the region, with 200-lawyer New York as its second largest office globally after London.

Layton singled out the firm’s transactional practice as one of the strongest performers of the year. Mandates included advising Network Rail on the £1.46bn sale of its commercial real estate portfolio and pharma company Pfizer on its joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline. The firm’s antitrust practice also scored a notable victory representing company consortium FairSearch in a case that saw Google fined €4.34bn by the European Commission for breaching competition rules.

Headcount remained stable in 2018/19, with the number of lawyers rising by 18 to 2,923, while the partner ranks grew by four to 562 and equity partners by two to 394.

While adding 13 laterals over the financial year, CC also had to deal with the growing pressure for talent from US firms in the City. Its private equity capabilities were hit by two significant departures: deal star Amy Mahon quit for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in November and infrastructure specialist Brendan Moylan left for Latham & Watkins in August.

Layton said the mood in the partnership was the best he had seen since starting in his role five years ago and concluded: ‘We have seen a pretty strong start to the financial year, but talking to clients there is a certain nervousness driven by the uncertainties and that brings cautiousness in their investment decisions.’

Legal Business

CC follows Freshfields with £100k package for junior lawyers as pay war with US rivals intensifies

CC follows Freshfields with £100k package for junior lawyers as pay war with US rivals intensifies

Clifford Chance (CC) has become the second Magic Circle law firm to raise the starting pay for its associates to £100,000, a month after City rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced a similar increase.

In a move signalling the widening impact of the pressure for talent from US firms on the City elite, CC has raised its compensation for newly qualified (NQ) solicitors from £91,000 including bonuses.

Freshfields’ NQs still have the potential to receive higher compensation, with discretionary premiums on top of the £100,000 base salary while the new figure at CC includes bonuses.

Freshfields’ hike from £85,000 has been linked to the increasing pressure to retain junior talent. The much-cited departures of heavyweight partners David Higgins and Adrian Maguire to Kirkland & Ellis  has been cited by observers as a catalyst for London’s elite players to attempt to protect their stock at all levels and CC’s latest move confirms this. All eyes will now be on Slaughter and May, Linklaters and Allen & Overy after the trio set their NQ rates at £83,000 in their most-recent reviews last year.

The associate pay increases at Freshfields and CC, by £15,000 and £9,000 respectively, echo the steep pay rises of the early 2000s. After the banking crisis, the starting rate at Magic Circle firms was reset downwards from around £66,000 to £60,000. Real-term increases had generally been modest since – until now.

The need to absorb the cost of the resurgent associate pay wars is likely to push the City elite towards the US model: smaller pools of associates with higher billing targets, more outsourcing to regional firms or use of low cost centres and technology for due diligence and other lower-value tasks.

Yet despite the latest increases, several US firms are still able to offer their NQs a more remunerative package alongside a faster track to partnership. Kirkland’s starting rate is £143,000, while Latham & Watkins offers its City associates $190,000.

Legal Business

Deal watch: Seats at the table for Travers, Skadden and Gateley as Pret acquires EAT and Oliver’s chain collapses

Deal watch: Seats at the table for Travers, Skadden and Gateley as Pret acquires EAT and Oliver’s chain collapses

Two opposite developments in the UK high street have seen City and US firms advise as food chain Pret A Manger acquired rival Eat and high-profile British chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant business went into administration.

Also keeping City insolvency practitioners busy was the news today (22 May) that British Steel has been put into compulsory liquidation.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised Pret as it agreed to acquire all of Eat’s 94 shops for an undisclosed sum, with plans to turn most into ‘Veggie Prets’.

The US firm’s team was led by London corporate partners Richard Youle, Katja Butler and Linda Davies. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Alex Potter is advising Pret on antitrust.

On the other side of the table, Travers Smith’s head of private equity and financial sponsors Paul Dolman led the team advising Ardian, Horizon Capital and the other selling shareholders of Eat.

‘I acted for Horizon when they acquired Eat [in 2011] and we have acted for them ever since, so we were the logical people to advise on the sale,’ Dolman told Legal Business. ‘Travers has in-depth expertise in this sector.’

The deal sees Travers’ and Pret’s paths cross again after the City firm advised previous owner Bridgepoint on the £1.5bn sale of the food chain to JAB Holding Company one year ago, with a team including Dolman and private equity partner Ian Shawyer.

Under Bridgepoint’s ownership the company, founded in London in 1986, expanded its presence in the UK and US, and launched in France, China, Dubai and Singapore, quadrupling its revenues to £879m. It now counts over 500 shops in nine countries.

Eat was founded in 1996 and bought by Horizon in 2011 with plans to build hundreds of shops. But it has struggled in recent years and reported pre-tax losses of £17.2m in the year to end of June 2018.

Meanwhile, Daniel French, an insolvency partner at listed firm Gateley, is leading the team acting alongside administrator KPMG after Oliver’s business became the latest victim amid difficult times for the UK high street.

Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group will see 22 of the 25 eateries it operates close, resulting in 1,000 job losses.

This is the second prominent high-street insolvency Gateley has acted on this year. The firm also advised KPMG on the administration of Patisserie Valerie in January.

Elsewhere, Clifford Chance (CC)’s insolvency team is advising as British Steele entered compulsory liquidation, putting its 5,000 employees at risk of redundancy.

The government’s official receiver has taken control of the company and together with Big Four accountancy firm EY is looking for a buyer, while it continues to trade normally.

CC’s restructuring head Philip Hertz and partner Iain White are leading the team advising on the process.

The Magic Circle firm was previously among the advisers in one of the largest UK insolvencies to hit the construction industry in recent years, when construction giant Carillion collapsed in January last year.

Legal Business

‘Break the dominance of a single metric’: CC pilots dropping billable hours from performance reviews

‘Break the dominance of a single metric’: CC pilots dropping billable hours from performance reviews

Clifford Chance (CC) is piloting a radical reform to the way it assesses the performance of its associates and counsel, removing utilisation as a metric when reviewing compensation.

The firm announced today (2 May) it has launched a year-long trial of the new system for 65 lawyers in its Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, whose base salaries and bonuses will be reviewed based on criteria including time spent on business development, professional growth and engagement with the firm’s innovation strategy.

The review process will drop the target of 1,800 billable hours to allow for a broader assessment of each lawyer’s contribution to the firm. The goal is to incentivise efficiency and improve the way the firm delivers its services.

Chief operating officer Caroline Firstbrook said the focus on utilisation had ‘a number of broadly acknowledged limitations, most notably that it does not directly incentivise efficiency or contributions to non-billable work that may be invaluable to the firm’s overall strategy’.

Managing partner Matthew Layton (pictured) added: ‘With this pilot, we are trying to break the dominance of that single metric and allow our teams to think more broadly about where their time is best spent. This may mean investing in time spent developing and applying process improvements to matters, rather than straightforward matter delivery.’

The pilot will not, however, mean that CC’s Middle East lawyers will no longer be recording their time: they will have desktop dashboards showing how much of their time has been spent on different sets of activities, including financial information about the matters they are working on. The firm said this was done in order to ensure the evaluation of the pilot was based on comparable data.

Firstbrook concluded: ‘By running a pilot on this scale, with a large number of data points, associate input and partner and management feedback, we expect to be in a position to draw informed conclusions on the way ahead for the firm.’

While CC claims to be the first large law firm to explicitly advocate taking billable hours off the equation, a number of firms have in recent years proposed reforms to the way they assess lawyers’ performance.

After a one-year pilot, Hogan Lovells last year replaced formal annual reviews of its associates with a programme of continued feedback. Called Pathways, the system assesses performance in quick sessions with partners.

In 2016/17, Allen & Overy piloted a similar scheme to ditch annual appraisals for 500 of its fee-earners and business support staff. Linklaters also ditched individual partner targets and annual assessments two years ago to focus on team performance.

Legal Business

Clifford Chance mints nine City partners in its largest promotion round of the decade

Clifford Chance mints nine City partners in its largest promotion round of the decade

Clifford Chance has promoted 30 lawyers to partner, confirming a trend which saw Magic Circle firms increase their partner intake this year.

Announced today (25 April) and effective next month, women make up a third of this year’s intake, bringing the total proportion of female partners at the firm to 20%. It is the firm’s largest global promotion round since 2008, when 35 were promoted.

Global promotions are up by four on last year’s 26, with nine minted in London compared to seven last year. Asia-Pacific also saw nine given the nod including five in Hong Kong and one in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney respectively. Eight were promoted in continental Europe and three in the States, two to the firm’s New York finance and one to its Washington litigation team.

In the City, Andrew Kelly and Kate Vyvyan were promoted in the firm’s capital markets practice; Jennifer Mbaluto and Alexander Chester in corporate; Peter Chapman, Nicholas Kinnersley and Caroline Dawson in finance; Kate Scott in litigation and Richard Kalaher in tax.

Managing partner Matthew Layton said the promotions ‘underline our continued investment in those areas that are increasingly important to our clients, such as regulatory and internal investigations, tech and sector specialisms such as funds and investment management’.

With the exception of Slaughter and May, which only promoted one of its lawyers to the partnership this year compared to four last year, all Magic Circle firms have increased their partner intake this year.

Linklaters announced its largest intake since the banking crisis last month, promoting 33, while Allen & Overy minted 34 this month compared to 20 last year and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced 22, up from 12.

Clifford Chance partner promotions in full:

Andrew Kelly, Capital Markets, London
Kate Vyvyan, Capital Markets, London
Jennifer Mbaluto, Corporate, London
Alexander Chester, Corporate, London
Peter Chapman, Finance, London
Nicholas Kinnersley, Finance, London
Caroline Dawson, Finance, London
Kate Scott, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, London
Richard Kalaher, Tax, Pensions and Employment, London
Madalyn Miller, Finance, New York
Guido Liniado, Finance, New York
Michelle Williams, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Washington
Tianning Xiang, Corporate, Beijing
Mark Chan, Capital Markets, Hong Kong
Rocky Mui, Corporate, Hong Kong
Christine Xu, Corporate, Hong Kong
Vicky Ma, Finance, Hong Kong
Tom Walsh, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Hong Kong
Lei Shi, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Shanghai
Gareth Deiner, Capital Markets, Singapore
Nadia Kalic, Corporate, Sydney
Jan-Hendrik Horsmeier, Corporate, Amsterdam
Dorothée Vermeiren, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Brussels
Stefan Bruder, Corporate, Frankfurt
David Pasewaldt, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Frankfurt
Kristof Meynaerts, Corporate, Luxembourg
Martin Wurth, Finance, Luxembourg
Ignacio Díaz, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Madrid
Gauthier Martin, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Paris
Tariq Imam, Real Estate, Dubai