CC West Coast faces mass defection

Clifford Chance is facing an unfolding crisis within its West Coast practice as it emerges that a group of partners is in talks to jump ship to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Sources state that talks are ongoing at the moment about a group of nine securities litigation partners, all formerly from collapsed firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison and from Clifford Chance’s San Francisco office, moving to Orrick.

Although it is understood that the group has also had talks with other firms.

One source said: “Nothing is finalised but things are moving pretty quickly.”

Over the past month, four partners have already left the magic circle’s West Coast practice, with three going to Fenwick & West and one partner joining Cooley Godward.

Tower Snow, who originally led the former Brobeck securities litigation team to Clifford Chance two years ago, is not thought to be joining Orrick, a firm he has already practised at some years ago.

A spokesman at Clifford Chance said: “We never comment on rumour and speculation.”