Newborn, whose resignation was reported last week on www.thelawyer.com, was the last Clifford Chance partner to benefit from a system inherited from Rogers & Wells. His 200-point remuneration last year amounted to £1.5m, double that of Clifford Chance plateau partners. That was due to be cut next year to 150 points, at around £1.1m. His departure coincides with a partnership vote on the firm’s compensation review, which limits the number of superpoint partners and the extra points they can hold.
Of the partners surveyed for the review, a majority said they did not think the firm should break lockstep under any circumstances.
His departure reinforces the victory of pro-lockstep partners over a cabal of New York partners pressuring management to expand the superpoints system.
Last year the firm lost its other superpointer, antitrust star Kevin Arquit, to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Of the two, Arquit was the bigger rainmaker and some sources at Clifford Chance claim the writing was on the wall for Newborn after Arquit left.
However, Newborn was a highly-rated practitioner and his team’s recruitment is a coup for Weil Gotshal, which now has a Washington DC antitrust capacity to match its New York team.
Clifford Chance US managing partner John Carroll told The Lawyer: “We wish Steve and his group well. “It’s a feature of modern life that partners come and partners go.”