HIGH-FLYING City banking partner Maurice Allen - one of the top names in his field - has resigned from Clifford Chance.
Clifford Chance managing partner Geoffrey Howe says Allen is leaving to have a break from practising law and to contemplate his career direction.
"Maurice has been thinking about this for some time. We decided the only way to make a decision about his future was for him to take time away from the firm," says Howe.
Allen has been with the firm since his articles. He is known as an outgoing personality and is highly regarded by other lawyers. He handles top clients including Bankers Trust, Chase Manhattan and Citibank.
On Allen's contribution to the firm, Howe says: "He clearly needed a break. We were talking about a variety of possibilities such as taking a sabbatical."
Another leading City banking lawyer says of the resignation: "This is amazing news. The guy is brilliant - an able lawyer who's very good at making deals."
Freshfields head of banking David Ereira says: "Maurice is very highly thought of."
Paul Downing, managing partner of Pinsents' London office, says: "He is one of the best banking lawyers of his generation. I would have him in my team tomorrow and expect any of the top five US firms in London would feel the same."