We reported last month that the head of U.S. litigation for Clifford Chance, Mark Kirsch, was leaving the firm’s New York office — and that layoffs in the litigation practice group were imminent. We didn’t know at the time where Kirsch was heading or how many of the 29 litigation associates in the Magic Circle firm’s New York office would be let go. Now we have more information.
Clifford Chance litigation partners Mark Kirsch and Mark Joel Cohen, and senior counsel Christopher Joralemon, have wound up at Gibson Dunn (which seems to be weathering the downturn better than many firms). Clifford Chance tells us the trio will be taking 7 of the firm’s 29 NY litigation associates with them. Kirsch is joining GDC as co-chair of litigation, as noted in Gibson’s press release.
Of the remaining 22 litigation associates, no more than 10 will be laid off this week, leaving a small litigation team in Clifford Chance’s New York office. As we mentioned before, the firm’s U.S. litigation will now be headed by Juan Morillo, who is in the D.C. office. In the words of one tipster:
It’s tragic what the Brits have done to Rogers & Wells.
So what’s the future for litigators in Clifford Chance’s New York office? A tipster weighs in, after the jump.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that revenue at Clifford Chance is down by five percent, due mainly to its UK bank clients being hurt by the downturn:
Clifford Chance LLP may lose its spot as the world’s largest law firm by revenue to U.S. competitors because of the effect of the global financial crisis on the firm’s clients.
Given the economic climate, five percent seems like a rather modest decrease. Other firms are surely suffering more.
But it doesn’t look like Clifford Chance will be making any revenue gains in New York litigation. This is what one tipster had to say about the remnants of the New York litigation team:
These guys [Kirsch, Cohen, and Joralemon] WERE the practice (or, rather, what was left of it following the departure of John Carroll’s team last December).
To make matters worse, CC now has asked two non-equity partners to stay on in NY after firing them as part of the restructuring just two months ago! So, in New York now, they have a total of three non-equity partners with absolutely no business, including two that the firm did not consider to be good enough mere weeks ago.
Clifford Chance declined to comment about the nature of the equity status of the partners now leading the litigation team in New York.
The up to 10 associates let go are the third round of U.S. layoffs for Clifford Chance that we’ve reported in the last year. At least the numbers are relatively small, with 20 litigators laid off in October and 24 New York associates let go in March.
Gibson Dunn Welcomes Clifford Chance Litigation Trio To Its New York Office [Gibson Dunn Press Release]
Clifford Chance May Lose Spot as Top Global Law Firm [Bloomberg]
Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Clifford Chance’s New York Office Braces Itself