City firm defiant after failed transatlantic merger as it bids for US capability in Europe

Ashursts.gif” alt=”Ashursts swoops for CC US securities team” />Ashurst Morris Crisp has made a dramatic raid on Clifford Chance for a US securities team.

The move, which signals a significant strategic shift, is part of a belated bid to build a credible US practice in Europe following the collapse of its merger talks with New York firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson earlier this year.

Ashursts will now concentrate its US referral relationships on just a handful of firms, including Slaughter and May‘s friend Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Ashursts is set to take on highly-rated Clifford Chance securities partner Daniel Bushner and his senior assistant Eric Stewart, who also joins as a partner. Bushner had been managing partner of Rogers & Wells’ London office prior to merging with Clifford Chance in 1999.

Together with former Dewey Ballantine assistant Edward Kim, who joined in May, the pair will handle the US securities and capital markets aspects of European transactions.

Ashursts will also consolidate and formalise US referral ties with what Green describes as a “small handful” of firms. They are believed to be Davis Polk, Fried Frank and Kirkland & Ellis. Ash-ursts also has historical ties with Debevoise & Plimpton.

Green said the US firms would be used on a “horses for courses” basis. In the past Kirkland has been used for private equity, Fried Frank for finance and Davis Polk for corporate.

Davis Polk has a longstanding informal relationship with Slaughters, but one Slaughters partner played down the implications of Ashursts’ move. “Our relationship [with Davis Polk] is non-exclusive and we wouldn’t expect them to feel any different,” he said.