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CLIFFORD Chance has lost the global head of its European competition and regulation group, with partner Simon Baxter defecting to US firm Skadden.
The Brussels-based lawyer, a Clifford Chance partner since 1998, resigned last Friday (11 June). He is expected to start work at Skadden later this month.
Shepard Goldfein, the head of Skadden’s global antitrust practice, said Baxter’s arrival would help the firm continue with the build-out of its global antitrust platform.
Skadden London head Bruce Buck added that it was “a unique opportunity” for the firm to bring on board one of Europe’s leading antitrust lawyers.
“We believe the political environment in the US, Europe and Asia is such that over the coming years antitrust will continue to become increasingly important,” said Buck. “Politicians are increasingly looking at monopolies, cartels and, in the M&A context, dominance issues.
“We already have a top-flight team, but we believe Simon’s arrival will make it unique.”
Baxter has recently advised on the competition aspects of some of Clifford Chance’s most significant M&A deals, including Kraft’s £11.4bn acquisition of Cadbury, Yahoo’s internet search deal with Microsoft and GE Security’s sale to United Technologies Corporation.
The head of Clifford Chance’s antitrust group for the past 10 years, Baxter said he felt it was time to put someone new into the role.
“Having taken the decision to seek a fresh challenge, it was a question of going somewhere that was a good fit and is interested in my perspective on how a global antitrust group operates,” he added.
Clifford Chance managing partner David Childs said the firm continued to have “a strong competition practice”.