Clifford Chance turns suitor in Beijing

It’s official. Clifford Chance doesn’t want to be big, it wants to be Broad.

Today’s news that the magic circle firm is in talks with Beijing’s Broad & Bright confirms a significant shift in its expansion strategy (see story).

Three years ago it got halfway down the aisle with Mallesons (see story), only to decide that the Aussie firm was, well, just a bit too chubby for its liking.

Since then, of course, Mallesons has given two fingers to the Pommies, through its merger with China-based King & Wood, although that impending deal has already seen a couple of exits, with two Mallesons Beijing partners jumping ship for DLA Piper.

And while Mallesons has been ballooning, Clifford Chance has decided to show its ex it can still pull – in not one, but two places.

In February this year it hoovered up Chang Pistilli & Simmons and Cochrane Lishman Carson Luscombe in Australia, and if the China talks are consummated it could add 20 Beijing partners to its global offering.

Earlier this year Clifford Chance senior partner Malcolm Sweeting told his troops that the firm was aiming to double turnover in Asia by 2014.

Looks like this really is the start of a beautiful relationship.