John Carroll, the managing partner of Clifford Chance’s Americas region has announced he is stepping down from the role, nearly nine months before his term was due to expire.

The move comes just two months after managing partner Peter Cornell jetted to New York to troubleshoot the firm’s US operation.

Carroll, who cited a desire to refocus on his litigation practice, succeeded Jim Benedict in the unenviable role in January 2003. His three-year term was due to expire at the end of 2005.

As first revealed on (18 October), Benedict quit the firm last year to join Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

Carroll announced the decision at a meeting in New York last night (17 March), with managing partner Peter Cornell informing the Clifford Chance partnership today.

US partners will vote on a new head on 30 April at the same time as corporate partners decide who will succeed David Childs as global head of corporate.