Clifford Chance is launching an international assault on the technology market, creating a global communications, media and technology group.
Although the firm has worked along sector specific lines before, until now its group has been focused on London. Now the group will have its own global chairperson and will focus on the international market and cooperation between offices.
Amsterdam telecoms and M&A partner Joachim Fleury will relocate to London to head the group. Media partner Daniel Sandelson will become his deputy.
Fleury has been a partner at the firm since 1992 and acts for telecoms clients including NTT DoCoMo, UPC and Libertel-Vodafone.
He says: “The group has of course been doing work for telecoms, media and IT clients for a long time, but what is new is that it’s much more organised as a real global group. It’s now got its own management in the shape of me and some non-lawyers to support that.”
Fleury says that his move to London is critical for the growth of the group. He says: “You could chair it from Amsterdam but we do have a big office here and a big group here so it makes sense to be where the biggest group is. We also work a lot with investment banks and they are pretty much all centred here.”
The group will boast 200 lawyers worldwide, of which 35 will be partners, with a London group of 10 partners and 40 associates.
Clifford Chance has other global sector-focused practice groups servicing areas such as financial institutions, the automotive industry and private equity, but this management structure makes the technology group one of the most advanced.
Fleury says: “It fits in with our general move away from saying we do property law and we do employment law and so on, and more into saying that we service technology clients and we have a group of lawyers who can service whatever legal needs they have. The clients don’t need to decide if they need an employment lawyer or a corporate lawyer – we can do that for them.”