London and Europe safe, says Chadbourne’s O’Neill

Chadbourne & Parke has moved to allay fears its European and UK operations could fall under the axe following the firm’s dismal 2005 financial result.

Revenue fell around 5 per cent for the New York-based firm, and managing partner Charles O’Neill had warned in a firmwide memo that steps, including cutting the number of partners, would be taken to rectify the problem.

However, O’Neill today (1 February) told The Lawyer the London and European offices would see “no impact” from the reforms designed to boost individual accountability and make the firm “more businesslike”.

“London and Europe is where we see the real future for growth,” O’Neill said.

“When you look at the international side of our firm, we are known in a few key areas: project finance, energy, product liability and insurance. We have targeted these areas to grow, particularly within emerging markets and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

“We have carved out a reputation in those areas, and we compete very well,” O’Neill added.

The firm opened in Warsaw and Kiev in 2004, and added offices in Almaty and St Petersburg last year opportunistically with the collapse of Coudert Brothers.

O’Neill denied the unexpected Coudert opportunity had hit the firm’s finances, saying they had been looking at both offices before Coudert hit trouble.