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The hire is a significant one for the nine-lawyer team, which competes with Freshfields for supremacy in the small but significant area of public policy law.
Partner Michael Smyth, head of Clifford Chance's public policy group, said: "Gail's understanding of the European public policy environment will be a real benefit to our clients. She'll provide senior-level experience at a time when we sorely need it and I think she'll be a major player in years to come."
Orton, a senior associate in Freshfields' EU public affairs team in Brussels, joins Clifford Chance's London-based public policy group, which advises overseas clients on UK government policy and has conducted public inquiries, such as the Hutton Inquiry.
Orton joins as a senior associate. The team now numbers five lawyers in London, two in Brussels and two in Washington DC. However, Smyth is the only partner.
Orton will be based in London but will be working closely with the Clifford Chance team in Brussels.