7. Clifford Chance
|Global heads:||Oliver Bretz, Thomas Vinje|
|Home jurisdiction:||United Kingdom|
|Total size of firm:||6,393|
|No. of competition specialists:||145|
|Percentage of competition specialists:||2|
|Who’s Who Legal nominees:||15|
|Percentage of partners in Who’s Who Legal:||41|
|Counsel and consultants:||22|
|No. of lateral partner hires:||0|
|No. of partner departures:||1|
|No. of internal promotions:||0|
The firm’s 15 Who’s Who Legal nominees are evenly spread across the globe, demonstrating the strength that Clifford Chance offers in several major competition jurisdictions. There have been some changes: global practice co-head Oliver Bretz has relocated from London to Paris and former Italian antitrust head Cristoforo Osti left the firm in September. But in that time, London partner Alastair Mordaunt, who joined last year from the OFT, has quickly established himself as a leading practitioner, recognised by his nomination to “40 under 40”.
The firm’s Brussels practice has perhaps been the jewel in Clifford Chance’s crown this year. Partners Tony Reeves, Thomas Vinje and Johan Ysewyn have ensured the firm is involved in most of the major EU matters. Reeves advised Citigroup in the complex sale of EMI; Citigroup acquired it, then sold it to Universal while spinning off EMI’s music publishing business to Sony. Vinje is in the thick of it with the abuse of dominance complaint against Google, working on behalf of FairSearch, a complainants group that includes Microsoft and Expedia. Ysewyn, meanwhile, is advising Belgian government on the Dexia state aid matter.
Clifford Chance’s other offices are also hard at work. In London the team has worked on several mergers, including UPM-Kymmene/Myllykoski and NDS in its US$5 billion acquisition by Cisco Systems, and the travel joint venture between Thomas Cook and the Co-operative, which was the first fast-track reference to the Competition Commission to be accepted by the OFT. The group is also advising Siemens in National Grid’s damages claim against the switchgearcartel at the UK High Court, and Morgan Crucible in a damages claim brought against a carbon cartel. In France, partner Patrick Hubert is defending Oracle against abuse of dominance claims from Hewlett-Packard and advising telecoms company SRR regarding a €2 million non-compliance fine.
Clifford Chance is well known for its financial services expertise. Its competition team is working on the Libor, credit default swaps and electronic payment systems cartel investigations.