Cleary hit by double partner departure in London

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  • Yup. Cleary Gottlieb, one of the world's leading law firms, has been "hit" by the departure of someone to Howreys.

    I bet Clearys are quaking in their boots at this stunning "raid".

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  • Both these departures are high profile in the Capital markets/securities space and the EU competition world. What a blow to the London office.

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  • Shaun will be missed!!

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  • Departures are damaging. Goodman exiting leaves the number of competition partners resident in London at, well, none. Levy and Subiotto are based in Brussels, whatever the official line. Add to that the fact that all the competition assistants have left as well and the truth is Cleary has no London competition team. So probably does constitute rather a painful raid to Cleary's "leading" London presence.

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  • Think last post is about right. Qureshi was the spearhead for emerging markets work and a vital part of the capital markets team, widely respected in London and beyond. His depature is a hammer-blow, and junior partners are not going to offset his loss. At least Qureshi is going in house, and not to a direct competitor. I understood Goodman was tasked years ago with establishing a top-tier competition practice in London, challenging the magic circle. Cleary made a firm commitment to devote resource and manpower to this goal. Competition, along with tax, is supposed to be a core practice area where Cleary excels. I think the London team now numbers two associates. Cleary has failed spectacularly.
    Add to all this the departure in December of the London head of tax, Nik Mehta, and you wonder what Cleary's strategy in London might be. Begins to sound like rats leaving a sinking ship. Right now this leading law firm isn't making any headway in London at all. The business looks much weaker now than three years ago, when I was there.

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  • I think Goodman’s departure is significant for the credibility of Cleary in London. I’m a competition lawyer at a MC firm. When Cleary poached Shaun from S and M five or six years ago I recall there was apprehension in London. Cleary, along with FF, has the leading competition group in Brussels. Worldwide Cleary is very strong. It has lawyers of international repute. They’re good. If Cleary could leverage that presence and brand, invest, build something comparable in London, it would be a real threat to us all. As a new entrant it was taken far more seriously than any other US firm. It seemed to flourish at first. Cleary acted on the Competition Commission investigation into the purchase of the LSE. That was probably the most important UK competition deal of that particular year and a bit. It was all over the news. Cleary got exactly the kind of publicity it needed for a London launch. The practice seemed to gain traction. And now it’s collapsed. In my opinion, Cleary has no visibility in London. I can’t think of a single significant UK deal on which Romano has featured, plenty of EU cases, but nothing with a UK dimension. Levy is strictly an EU merger control specialist, a very good one, but not a UK competition lawyer. With Shaun gone, Cleary has no UK competition practice. Growing competition in London was meant to be a priority for Cleary. I remember the statements it made, and snippets I heard in conversation with other lawyers, even one or two clients. Cleary had the means at its disposal, there must have been a persuasive business case, but it didn’t make good on its early promise. Is it going to take the same view with other business areas, where its international standing is much weaker? Is London going to be a support to US/Brussels, instead of a full-function office? If the comments about Qureshi and Mehta are right, then it looks like that might be the case.

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  • How is Raj (I forget his surname - cheeky little chappie) going to survive without Ash - his mentor???

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  • Raj Panasar - he'll survive!!!

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