Freshfields poaches Cleary

Freshfields' Hong Kong office has poached project finance partner Peter Cleary from US firm Chadbourne & Parke's Hong Kong office.

Cleary, a senior US lawyer with 15 years' project finance experience in Asia, will join Freshfields in September. Marketing director Dominic Leahy said the appointment underlined Freshfields' commitment to expanding its international project finance team of 65 lawyers worldwide.

Freshfields senior partner Anthony Salz said: “Peter Cleary brings substantial experience to our team. His breadth of experience in Asia will be invaluable to our clients.”

The move could be a blow to Chadbournes' project finance ambitions, which it previously said was a key area of interest.

Chadbournes caused a stir in the UK last year when it advertised for three £700,000 project finance partners, the highest salaries ever publicly offered for UK lawyers.

Allen & Overy managing partner John Rink said despite Chadbournes' reputation as a big-paying firm, it was not unusual for UK firms to poach US lawyers. “Money isn't everything,” he said.