Clifford Chance star Signy quits for Simpson Thacher

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  • Wow. This is serious stuff for Clifford Chance. Is this the first in a rush to the exit by the firm's big hitters?

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  • This is certainly a big hire but Simpson Thacher aren't anywhere near being able to deliver full corporate service in London. They'll need to start hiring English tax lawyers for instance.

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  • Coming as it does as the same time as Clifford Chance totally restrutures its business and boots out dozens of lawyers, it's tempting to read a link
    between that and Signy's move. That would be a mistake. Signy's leaving because CC is screwed and he's smart enough to read the writing on the wall.

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  • The word on the street is he's doubled his dosh

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  • Simpson Thacher are a mature brand and need a generalist who understands the principles of private equity. Most of the blue chip US firms have coveted Adam. Its a good move for him.

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  • It's the smart people that leave CC.......

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  • Or maybe he was one of the partners who was asked to "explore other opportunities"... I mean, CC is reducing the size of their partnership, right? And Simpson aren't anywhere near to being able to deliver full corporate service. After all, on another news site, it is stated that Simpson currently has no UK-qualified corporate or private equity partners in London (yes, they have Tony Keal and Gorrie, but those are in finance, not corporate...) So there is no team in place, no tax practice, etc. so how will he make it all by himself??

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  • He certainly will not be doing the sort of deals he has been used to at CC. I just cannot see him drafting, reviewing documents, etc. all by himself since Simpson does not have any team in place for him. Why he chose to go to an office like Simpson in London just does not make any sense for me. Sorry, but this is simply not a good move for him.

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  • "Or maybe he was one of the partners who was asked to "explore other opportunities"..."

    Err... no, he wasn't. No firm in its right mind would ask Adam to explore other opportunities. He is one of the best M&A lawyers around.

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  • Why is everyone "agog" at this story? CC is undergoing a major restructuring and reorganisation, morale there is very low, their profits are in freefall and will this year fall below the £1m benchmark, Candover (Signy's big client) is fatally holed below the waterline and won't be doing any more deals (ever), Signy is not the lead relationship partner for KKR, CVC or Permira (CC's other big beast PE clients) and so even if he hasn't been pushed, this looks like a good tactical move for him as he might otherwise begin to look a little exposed at CC. As for Simpson, one swallow does not make a summer and one might say that this move is too little too late. If it's a statement of intent - great, but they'll need to broaden their footprint considerably if they are to be a credible choice for serious PE/M&A work.

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  • I also share the point of view of Interested Observer. Even if Signy has not been pushed out of CC, if he was so smart to read the writing on the wall like posters above have suggested, he would have jumped ship a few months ago instead of waiting until now that CC is pushing their partners out), since his big clients are in pretty bad shape. He may be the best M&A lawyer out there, but firms care only about the bottom line, and unfortunately Signy's client base just does not cut it anymore for him to be profitable to CC.

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  • Anyone above who implies that Signy might have been pushed is out of sync with CC reality. This is the biggest disaster CC had ... ever. The mood in the firm is bad following the news.

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  • It's not the end of CC, contrary to what some commenters are suggesting. Sure, Signy is a very experienced guy, but look,we are now living in a new world and firms like CC are restructuring in order to survive. To survive, firms need cash. The brutal truth is that his clients (Candover) are as good as dead and are unlikely to make any deals any time soon. On Simpson's side, their corporate/M&A is literally inexistant on the UK side, there is no team in place there, nor is there any support team (tax, etc.), which means that Signy won't be able to bring any of his clients to Simpson as Simpson does not have the capacity to handle it. It is a wonder why Signy did not go to a firm with an existing corporate practice. You can rest assured that none of the partners at CC are worried. Signy will be quickly overwhelmed and will not be able to do the kind of work he is used to. Associates at CC may be worried, but the partners there are not as they know that Signy will have to refer work to CC as Simpson simply cannot handle it.

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  • Others have done it before. Serious heavy weight players who deliver and certain others who just like to skip from golden hello to golden hello as a never quite fading swansong

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  • In this market no position is safe. You could say he jumped before he was pushed or he is the first Partner with vision. I will not name names however a former " star " associate is working at a well known food retailers, not as a Lawyer in the store. Fair play to Adam he needs to pay the Bills.

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  • Signy is a decent bloke and has a long history of buying his round. This fact should not be underestimated in the Simpson decision to double his dosh.

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