Simon Neilson-Clark has stepped down as DLA Piper’s EMEA restructuring practice group head, in expectation of an upsurge in demand for restructuring leading him to focus on client work.

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved over the last three years and, given the anticipated increase in demand for restructuring services, it’s now time for me to devote my full-time and attention to our clients,” he said.

Neilson-Clark, who has headed the restructuring practice since 2004, has been replaced by Shan Spencer.

Manchester-based Spencer, who has been a partner at DLA Piper since 2001, was location head for the restructuring group in the north west of England, leading a team of 18 lawyers based in Manchester and Liverpool.

In the meantime Spencer will continue to head the north west restructuring group while the firm finds a replacement.

Spencer, who provides insolvency and reconstruction advice to financial institutions, accountants and corporates, said the intention is to expand the group across the EMEA region in response to greater demand for its services.

“Restructuring has definitely been through a quieter patch but is starting to pick up,” she said. “The credit crunch is starting to show through in corporate recovery assignments and we anticipate that 2008 will be a busy year.”

On Neilson-Clark’s departure Andrew Darwin, European managing director at DLA Piper, said: “We respect Simon’s decision and thank him for his contribution as group head. We anticipate that the market for restructuring services will be strong in 2008 and the firm will continue to invest in the group so that we can provide the best support to our clients.”