Clifford Chance woos European Commission anti-trust lawyer

A competition directorate lawyer has left the European Commission to join Clifford Chance.

Ali Nikpay, who was based in Brussels, joins the competition and regulation practice in London. The firm's anti-trust group now has 120 lawyers and 28 partners globally.

Nikpay was with the Directorate General for Competition (DG Comp) for four years. He spent the first two in the policy unit and the remainder in the telecom and media directorate.

But he says that the lure of private practice proved too much for him. “[DG Comp] is a wonderful place to work but I had been there for four years and I wanted to see it from the other side,” he says.

Nikpay qualified as a barrister at commercial set 2 Field Court after initially pursuing a career in economics. But he confirms he will now re-qualify as a solicitor.

Chris Bright, head of the competition and regulation practice, says: “This is a significant addition to our growing European team. Ali's insights into the workings of the European Commission and his expertise will be a major benefit for clients.”

Nikpay says on his decision to join the global giant: “Chris Bright is someone I thought I would learn from. There is a great deal of energy about the place.”

Nikpay was also a member of the DG Comp working group which drafted the basis of the commission's reform of European Commission competition law.