Former Clifford Chance managing partner Peter Cornell is to retire from the firm at the end of this year.
Cornell, who has just returned from a three-month sabbatical, is understood to be considering several options, including a consultancy role.
Cornell became managing partner of Clifford Chance in 2002 during a time of unprecedented turmoil at the magic circle firm, including an ill-fated expansion into California and a shake-up of the New York operation which saw a number of rainmakers leave. He moved to New York to oversee the US operation in January 2005.
He announced his decision to step down from the leadership in December last year, and his successor David Childs took over the role of managing partner in May this year.
In a statement, Clifford Chance confirmed Cornell's departure, stating: "Peter has been in management roles with Clifford Chance since the mid-1990s and has decided to make a change. He is currently considering a number of options."
Childs said: "I am sure partners join me in thanking Peter for all his efforts for our firm over many years and in wishing him all the very best in his next career."