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The general counsel of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has left his post for a partnership role in the New York office of Clifford Chance.
William Blumenthal, who joined the commission in 2005 from King & Spalding, leaves the group without a general counsel.
A spokesman for the commission confirmed that a decision is yet to be made on Blumenthal's replacement.
Blumenthal has become a member of Clifford Chance's M&A group as well as its litigation and dispute resolution practice, where he will be chairman of the US antitrust group.
Clifford Chance global head of antitrust Simon Baxter said: "Bill's recruitment signals clearly our determination to build a US antitrust practice of the same quality and scale as our global antitrust offering."
As general counsel at the FTC, Blumenthal advised on the federal government's position on a number of key issues including price discrimination, patent settlements and antitrust matters in M&A deals.
Blumenthal also played a role in the US government's ongoing discussions with China and its anti-monopoly law.
The Clifford Chance hire comes after the firm suffered a spate of defections last year with litigation partners John Carroll, Warren Feldman and David Meister leaving to join Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in December (2 December).