Grimaldi spurns Clifford Chance life annuity deal

In the latest twist in the Grimaldi Clifford Chance saga, The Lawyer has learnt that former senior partner Vittorio Grimaldi has given up his entitlement to a life annuity from the magic circle firm.
Arrangements for Grimaldi’s exit some 10 years earlier than originally planned took months to thrash out before he finally left at the end of May, taking four other partners and 26 lawyers with him (The Lawyer, 27 May).
It has now emerged that Grimaldi forfeited a life annuity. The life pension was an exclusive agreement with Grimaldi at the time of the 2000 merger between his firm and Clifford Chance and would have provided him with £100,000-£200,000 a year. The amount is relatively small given Grimaldi’s extensive business interests, but as part of his off-lockstep deal it had become a major source of tension within the worldwide Clifford Chance partnership.
In a recent heated email sent by Clifford Chance’s Sâo Paulo managing partner Stephen Hood to all equity partners, he attacked the Italian departure from lockstep and said he feared the same mistake was being made again with the Brobeck Phleger & Harrison team.
Again via email, an outraged Grimaldi rebuffed the remarks and blamed Hood and other partners for determining his departure, adding that he had decided not to enjoy the life annuity despite his early departure.
A spokesperson for Clifford Chance said: “It’s not true that the agreement required Grimaldi to give up an annuity.” He said further details could not be disclosed because of a confidentiality clause.
In his email, Grimaldi also told partners that he would now practise under his own name, but speculation is still rife in the Italian market that the Grimaldi saga is far from over. He continues to work from the former Clifford Chance building in Rome, where the lease is in his name.
As reported in The Lawyer (27 May), Clifford Chance faces eviction from the offices. It has now taken 2,000 square metres elsewhere in the city.