Last of the Clifford Chance ‘superpointers’ quits ahead of pay cut

Clifford Chance‘s last ‘superpointer’ Steven Newborn was about to have his extra points cut in half when he left for Weil Gotshal & Manges last week with a three-partner antitrust team.

Newborn, whose resignation was reported last week on www.thelawyer.com, was the last Clifford Chance partner to benefit from a system inherited from Rogers & Wells. His 200-point remuneration last year amounted to £1.5m, double that of Clifford Chance plateau partners. That was due to be cut next year to 150 points, at around £1.1m. His departure coincides with a partnership vote on the firm’s compensation review, which limits the number of superpoint partners and the extra points they can hold.

Of the partners surveyed for the review, a majority said they did not think the firm should break lockstep under any circumstances.

His departure reinforces the victory of pro-lockstep partners over a cabal of New York partners pressuring management to expand the superpoints system.

Last year the firm lost its other superpointer, antitrust star Kevin Arquit, to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Of the two, Arquit was the bigger rainmaker and some sources at Clifford Chance claim the writing was on the wall for Newborn after Arquit left.

However, Newborn was a highly-rated practitioner and his team’s recruitment is a coup for Weil Gotshal, which now has a Washington DC antitrust capacity to match its New York team.

Clifford Chance US managing partner John Carroll told The Lawyer: “We wish Steve and his group well. “It’s a feature of modern life that partners come and partners go.”