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Reading firm Clarks is declaring war on Osborne Clarke's lead position in the Thames Valley with the hire of a new partner.
Clarks is implementing plans to expand its corporate finance practice with the hire of a legal and compliance director and company secretary from leading waste management company Sita. Simon Thorne brings his specialism in waste management, renewable energy and public-private partnerships and has already put together a new team within Clarks to develop this area. The firm is now working on a number of instructions from Sita, which is currently going through a significant merger. Thorne joined Sita from Bond Pearce five years ago and was responsible for the company's legal, insurance, compliance and internal audit functions. He was previously at Taylor Joynson Garrett in London. Thorne said his move is unrelated to current developments at Sita. "First and foremost, I wanted to return to practise law full time in the area of corporate finance," he said. "My role at Sita had become largely a management role and I want to get back to private practice. "Our aim is to attract high-quality work and also to attract and retain some good corporate lawyers. Together with that, I want to retain an interest in waste management and I hope I can add some value to companies in that sector as a result of my in-house experience." Thorne said he had not instructed Clarks in any significant way while at Sita, and that he hopes to maintain a good relationship with the company. "I genuinely think that Clarks can offer Sita a very good service," he said. "But lawyers are only as good as their last job. If Clarks wants to maintain a relationship with Sita, which clearly we do, we'll have to work hard at it." Thorne will be working alongside department head Richard Lee, who is confident that Clarks is capable of rising to the top of the pack in the Thames Valley. Lee said: "This market clearly looks to Osborne Clarke as a leading corporate firm. But any market needs at least two leading players. We think we're in a better position than anyone else to take on that role."