Prince of Darkness returns to Clifford Chance

Former Deutsche Bank's global general counsel Peter Brooks has returned to his old firm of Clifford Chance with “more to give” following his in-house experience.

Brooks, dubbed the “Prince of Darkness”, was tempted back to head Clifford Chance's expansionist European corporate unit.

Brooks, who earned the sobriquet through his ruthless style, left Clifford Chance in 1996.

Brooks will also head the relevant partnership groups advising on how to win and keep clients.

David Childs, Clifford Chance's head of corporate finance who took over from Brooks when he left, says: “Anyone who spends time away in another organisation is going to have more to give when they return and Peter is no exception. In his previous job he was a big user of legal services and so can advise us on how to become more attractive to clients.

“In the US, partners of a certain age often go off to fill a high-profile position, then return to their original firm.”

As part of his new role, Brooks will be examining how to expand the corporate practice in continental Europe.

“He will also be carrying out a review of our business strategies and looking at what businesses we want to be in – and also which ones we don't want to be in,” says Childs.

Brooks was lured to the former Deutsche Morgan Grenfell by a rumoured u1m salary, but is believed to have grown disenchanted with Deutsche Bank long before the company's merger with Bankers Trust.

“The bank was no longer the one he had joined,” speculates Childs.

Clifford Chance plans to expand its corporate department so there is less disparity between that department and the firm's large finance department. It is hoped that such a move will enable the firm to handle bigger deals.

“We are planning to expand by up to 30 per cent over the next two to three years,” says Childs. The London corporate department currently has 45 partners and 175 lawyers.

Bankers Trust's head of legal Simon Dodds has become the UK head of legal for the merged bank.