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CLIFFORD Chance energy specialist Alan Jones has jumped ship to join the London office of new multinational partnership LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae.
Jones, the head of Clifford Chance's London energy group and co-ordinator of its international energy and natural resources practice, took up his new post on 3 July. It is thought that he will be joined by Clifford Chance colleague Garry Pegg at the end of the month.
Both Jones and Pegg have signed as partners in the MNP, formed in April by five US lawyers and former Wilde Sapte commercial litigation head Peter Sharp. They will handle energy work and corporate and project finance.
Jones, Pegg, Sharp and new office head Jeff Johnson make up the London-based partnership quota. Seven associates have also been recruited to the practice. Four are already on board; the others are set to join within the next few months.
It is thought that LeBoeufs, which advertised last year for UK lawyers to take up £400,000 per annum contracts, will have 30 lawyers in London within two years; by 2000 the number is expected to hit 50.
The firm, which operates a number of foreign practices and 13 domestic offices in the US, says its lawyers have long been considered front-runners in the energy sector and Jones' experience is "a perfect fit".
"Our new partners will enhance our competitive edge in handling international power projects," says LeBoeufs' chair Samuel M Sugden.
Jones says that his departure from Clifford Chance, where he had been a partner for five years, was amicable, but the novelty of joining an MNP drew him to LeBoeufs.
"It was the challenge of something exciting and new. I was very happy working at Clifford Chance and I think it's a great firm, but it wasn't going to keep me there for years," says Jones.
He adds: "LeBoeufs is a leading US energy utility and insurance firm. they're very strong domestically and the Americans are far-sighted in terms of building up their practices internationally.
"In London, LeBoeufs is building on its practice in the United States and is taking
its energy practice forward internationally.
"That's what I really want to do and I think that I will be able to do it much better at LeBoeufs than I would be able to at Clifford Chance."
Keith Clark, senior partner at Clifford Chance, says there are no plans to recruit a new head of department to replace Jones.
"We have people here who have got experience of oil and gas work and who are carrying the practice forward," he says.
"You're always looking at the best way of organising yourselves and we feel that we've got the experience and ability to focus on this area of the practice with the resources that we already have."