The opera is over at Clifford Chance

Time was when you could rely on Clifford Chance management elections to provide a decent punch-up. Public hustings, private canvassing, clumsy manifestos, below-stairs bitching… the lot.

But Clifford Chance is older, wiser and an awful lot duller. The last contested election was for head of corporate a year ago. Since then a whole tier of management has been ushered in with no challengers.

Senior partner, heads of banking, capital markets, Asia, Germany and Italy – the latter revealed today – have all been reanointed.

Actually, there was more going on behind the scenes in Italy than you might think. Senior partner Stuart Popham added to his enormous carbon footprint by flying in and brokering peace among the Italians. Milan partner Charles Adams – tall, dapper and eminently acceptable because of his Italian mother – got the top job, while Giuseppe di Palma will report to him as local Rome head.

But it’s a shame for the rest of us that CC is trying to leave its operatic tendencies behind. Its brand has always been a bit edgier than the rest of the magic circle’s, which is what made it more interesting in the first place.

Nowadays the partnership culling is at Freshfields, the associate revolts are at A&O and the leadership speculation is at Linklaters. Strange times indeed.