Clifford Chance has hired a senior litigation partner in an attempt to rebuild its US disputes practice following a series of exits last year.
The firm has hired Bill Wallace, a trial specialist who was formerly a partner at Milbank Tweed Hadley McCloy. Wallace, who is expected to join with two Milbank associates, will lead Clifford Chance’s US corporate and financial services litigation group from the firm’s Washington DC office.
The global head of Clifford Chance’s litigation and dispute resolution practice Jeremy Sandelson said there had been significant client demand for a senior trial lawyer in the firm’s US operations, something it had until now lacked.
“A number of clients of the Clifford Chance international network that have business in the US want us to be able to represent them in trials and recently we haven’t had as much resource as we would’ve liked,” admitted Sandelson. “Bill is a senior trial litigator with huge trial experience who gives us that ability.”
Sandelson added that it was his ambition to “rebuild” the firm’s US disputes capabilities after a 12 months that saw a string of high-profile exits, including former global head of litigation Mark Kirsch and former litigation head Peter Chaffetz.
“We recognised that we needed to rebuild in the US after last year and this is a first step,” said Sandelson.
Sandelson added that Clifford Chance currently had 12 disputes partners in the US split between its offices in New York and Washington.
Wallace’s practice focuses on complex litigation with an emphasis on commercial disputes, insolvency and fraud litigation. His sector specialisms include the hospitality and real estate industries, where Wallace is known for his relationships in the REIT industry.
Additionally, Wallace is known for trade secret and related litigation. He will work alongside former Federal Trade Commission general counsel Bill Blumenthal, who joined Clifford Chance as chairman of the US antitrust practice last year. Before joining Milbank in 2001, Wallace was head of global litigation for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.