Clifford Chance’s Californian outpost is now officially dead and the magic circle firm is left without a global head of IP following the resignation of the last remaining partner at the firm's Palo Alto office.
Daniel Harris, who had been heading up the firm’s IP operations globally, was originally slated to relocate to Clifford Chance’s 47-lawyer office in Washington DC after the closure of its only office on the West Coast.
But Harris decided to stay in California rather than relocate to the East Coast, and therefore will leave Clifford Chance altogether on Friday (30 March). He is currently pursuing various options.
There is now no reference to the firm’s Palo Alto office on Clifford Chance’s website. A spokeswoman confirmed Harris’ departure and the closure of the office. She said: “We are sorry that Daniel isn’t going to relocate after all, but the IP practice is still very important to the firm, and also to the East Coast.”
A successor to Harris is yet to be announced.
The firm had kept a nameplate presence in Palo Alto since the decision to wind down operations there at the beginning of 2005. It announced that the office would close in February.
In its 2002 heyday, follwing the mass hire of more than 20 partners from the now-defunct Brobeck Phleger & Harrison, Clifford Chance’s Californian operation boasted four offices and around £30m in revenues.
But by 2004, following a slate of defections and the offload of the firm’s eight-partner San Francisco office to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, it was reduced to a single active partner, Harris.