CC sends Latin America chief to Tokyo practice

Clifford Chance's London head of its Latin American practice is being posted to Tokyo to boost its Far East operation.

It is expected that US firm Rogers & Wells, if its merger with Clifford Chance goes ahead, will then take control of Latin America from its New York office.

Stephen Roith will move in September to Tokyo, where he will head the securities practice. It is understood he will eventually move on to the Hong Kong office.

If the Rogers & Wells merger is given the go-ahead by both firms' partners this week, Roith's current position will disappear.

Control of the Latin American practice will be moved to New York, where Rogers & Wells will have the right to nominate the first head of practice under the merger agreement.

Roith says much of the day-to-day Latin American management is handled by Clifford Chance's New York office and a small operation in Sao Paulo.

Roith's move comes as the Far East economy begins to pick up. Roith says: “Linklaters are also boosting their Tokyo office and the people that are moving out at the moment are going to handle the existing work there.

“However, we are expecting that the corporate market side, which is already beginning to happen, will build up greatly in the next year or two. The market can only grow from here.”

There may be further changes to Roith's position later in the year. Clifford Chance has informed partners it is in merger talks with German international firm Punder Volhard Weber & Axster.

Punder Volhard has offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, so if the merger gets the go-ahead at the planned vote it will probably lead to one Hong Kong office combining the two practices.

Who would head the potential combined practice has yet to be decided.