CC ends Brobeck litigation with $3m settlement

Clifford Chance is finally drawing a line under its rocky West Coast strategy after reaching a settlement over the $100m (£55.1m) lawsuit brought by former Brobeck Phleger & Harrison members.

It is understood that the claim against Clifford Chance and former Brobeck chairman Tower Snow last year will be settled at between $2m (£1.1m) and $3m (£1.7m).

Staff and partners from Brobeck, which imploded in February 2003, had been seeking $100m in damages after they blamed Clifford Chance and Snow for the firm’s demise.

Clifford Chance has agreed a contingency settlement with the bankruptcy trustee who was appointed after Brobeck formally filed last year.

The allegations were initially against Brobeck, but the firm’s liquidation committee then assigned the claims to Clifford Chance and Snow.

The move is the next step for the firm to free itself from its West Coast expansion plans following the recent departure of the majority of its California lawyers, mainly to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Clifford Chance retains one office in Palo Alto.

A spokesperson for Clifford Chance said: “Clifford Chance believes it has no liability in respect of the claims made against it in the Brobeck bankruptcy.

But it has agreed to this settlement in order to move towards closure of this dispute, because it recognises that it would incur significant costs in defeating the claims.”

The spokesperson added: “Clifford Chance looks forward to a successful conclusion of the trustee’s fraudulent transfer litigation and the bankruptcy court’s approval of the settlement.”