Clifford Chance rents out space to US rival Kilpatrick

Clifford Chance has sub-let space in its New York office to US firm Kilpatrick Stockton.

Clifford Chance has sub-let space in its New York office to US firm Kilpatrick Stockton.

The move follows moves by the UK-headquartered firm to significantly downsized its US capabilities. Last October Clifford Chance shed 20 litigation associates followed by a total of 35 support staff at the end of 2008.

As well as legal and support staff layoffs, Clifford Chance has suffered a number of partner defections in the US. Last year litigation partners John Carroll, Warren Feldman and David Meister defected to Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (2 December 2008).

Kilpatrick Stockton signed a lease on 11,000 sq feet of Clifford Chance’s New York base starting from 1 January this year.

In the 9 March issue of The Lawyer, Clifford Chance managing partner David Childs confirmed the firm would consider subletting space in London and other offices, describing it as “good housekeeping”.

“It’s a good option for us,” added Childs.”In some cases the rent generated by subletting is more than the amount the firm pays.”

Earlier this year The Lawyer reported that the magic circle firm had sub-let three and a half floors of its Canary Wharf office to accounting firm KPMG. The accountant has taken on 93,000 sq ft on the 16th to 19th floors of 10 Upper Bank Street, generating almost £4m in the 2009-10 financial year.