Clifford reshuffles corporate practice

Clifford Chance's UK corporate practice is now led by two partners with extensive private equity experience, Adam Signy and Matthew Layton.

Clifford Chance has completed a restructuring of its UK corporate practice, in an effort to make the department easier to manage. The firm has merged three transactional groups within its corporate practice into a single team under the direction of partners Adam Signy and Matthew Layton, bringing together its general mergers and acquisitions, investment banking and private equity practices.

The firm's mergers and acquisitions practice was divided into two teams, 30A and 30B, while its private equity practice operated as 30C. But the functional distinctions between each group eventually became blurred, with each group's partners working across a variety of different practices.

?There has been increasing overlap in what the three groups do and the reorganization recognizes this by bringing all the lawyers together into one operational group for the first time while maintaining the existing specific areas of focus,? Clifford Chance said in a statement.

Now all 28 partners will be grouped into a combined team known as Corporate D, spread across the 19th and 20th floors of Clifford Chance's London office. The new structure will not only increase the efficiency of the corporate practice, but will make managing client relationships easier as well, the firm said.

Signy and Layton are floor leaders, effectively sharing control of the UK corporate practice. The two have been active in Clifford Chance's private equity practice in the past, but will split their time between private equity and M&A transactions going forward.

Before the restructuring, 30A, 30B and 30C were led by M&A partners Daniel Kossoff and Neil Harvey, and private equity partner James Baird. Baird remains global head of private equity, and David Pearson will remain head of London corporate. The corporate practice also includes antitrust, funds and regulatory teams.

Clifford Chance is also in the process of growing its New York-based team, one of the resolutions in a global strategy the firm outlined last year. In 2006 the firm hired private equity specialist John Graham, and is looking to continue to add to its partner roster.

The expansion of Clifford Chance's US team has proceeded apace with the growth of the firm's business there. In the past year the firm has worked on several multi-billion dollar M&A deals, and has picked up several high profile private equity clients. On the fund formation side, Clifford Chance is currently in the process of raising funds for Merrill Lynch, BlackRock and AIG Investments.

In 2007, Clifford Chance advised on 74 buyouts around the globe, valued at around $87 billion. The firm is ranked sixth in terms of deal value on Mergermarket's 2007, up from 12th in 2006, and second in terms of deal volume, up from third in 2006.