Clifford Chance has moved to strengthen two of its key jurisdictions with the relocation of senior partners to offices in the Middle East and Russia.
The move, which will see co-head of the firm’s London finance and capital markets practice Tim Plews team up with Saudi associate firm Al Jadaan & Partners and London litigation chief Nick Munday relocate to Moscow, is part of a new strategy to use big hitters in developing markets.
Munday, who has been working in Moscow since January, said his move was intended to take advantage of the surge in cross border litigation work coming out of the jurisdiction.
“There is a phenomenon that Moscow is the new epicentre for London litigation,” he said. “It’s a truly global market now and if people choose the UK as a place to do litigation then we want to have a presence where the clients are.
“We’re undoubtedly leading the way on this by putting a top team here [in Moscow] to do London litigation work.”
The cross border team for the magic circle firm currently comprises two partners in London and a further three, including Munday, in Moscow. Munday confirmed that the firm was looking to grow the team.
Plews, who will relocate to Saudi Arabia in October this year, will join projects partner Mohamed Hamra-Krouha, who has been seconded to Al Jadaan since 2008. Plews, who has worked with clients in the region for 15 years, will take partner headcount in the Saudi office to seven.
Speaking of his and Munday’s moves Plews commented: “It reflects the firm’s commitment to making strategic investments in what are still emerging markets.
“I hope we’ll see more of it generally. This sort of move re-iterates that there’s increasing potential across the firm for people who want to relocate. One of my missions is to try to encourage people to join me.”
Cliifford Chance’s Dubai-based regional managing partner Graham Lovett added: “Tim’s permanent presence in the region will be a big boost for us across the entire breadth of our transactional practice - having someone of his seniority and experience on the ground in Riyadh is an unprecedented move amongst international firms.”
Elsewhere, energy partner Geraint Hughes will take over as the magic circle firm’s Singapore managing partner. He replaces Phillip Rapp, who will remain head of corporate in South East Asia.