Clifford Chance has indulged in a bout of internal restructuring, merging its three large M&A, private equity and corporate practices into one mammoth department on 1 December 2007.
It will be headed by partners Matthew Layton, who loves his private equity, and Adam Signy, who is most happy doing a mixture of private equity and other high-flying corporate deals.
But far from signalling the pre-eminence of private equity over M&A, the decision has little to do with politics: it scraps the historical divides between departments to introduce greater efficiency and fee-earner development.
The merger is also nothing new: in early 2007 the firm’s securities, securitisation and trusts departments merged into a supergroup and asset finance and project finance united under a common billing code in October 2007.
One of the partners, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, describes the mergers as a bit of a trend akin to the comeback of flares.