Borrower finance ace eyes top CC banking role

Clifford Chance acquisition finance partner Mark Stewart is set to become head of the powerful London banking practice as current head Tim Plews steps down from the role.

The vote for London managing partner for banking, which is a four-year term, closes next Monday (13 March).

Confirming his candidacy, Stewart told The Lawyer: “I’ve been working in the area for 20 years, so I know the people and I know the business. I feel I can put something back.”

Clifford Chance’s London banking practice, with 62 partners, has a third of the partners within the global finance department but accounts for nearly half of the global banking revenue.

According to The Lawyer UK 100, Clifford Chance’s banking group turned over £223m in 2004-05, with London grossing £107m.

Over the past decade, Stewart, who stood for global head of banking four years ago, has built up a reputation for borrower finance work within Clifford Chance’s traditionally lender-based banking group.

He is thought to be the first borrower finance lawyer to take a management role within the banking group.

Clifford Chance sources said Stewart’s sponsor-facing practice was not the reason for his elevation, but his prominence underlines the growing importance of the private equity market to the financing community.’If the OFT spent £1.5m on this investigation, you could multiply that by five for the companies who spent four years defending themselves against these allegations.’

Addleshaw Goddard partner Edward Pitt slams the OFT. News, page 5
‘We’re stepping back and looking at things from a global perspective. If that meant opening in Germany rather than the UK, then so be it.’

Fish & Richardson’s John Gagel tries to make friends and influence people in Deutschland. News, page 8
‘I’m crying out for people from non-Oxbridge universities… We’ve no bias in favour of people from Oxbridge.’

Brick Court Chambers’ Charles Hollander QC reckons he’ll look beyond the old school tie for talent. Analysis, page 14
‘The FTSE100 is just not what it’s all about – it’s wider than that.’

Clifford Chance London managing partner Peter Charlton shrugs off criticism of the firm’s client base. The Lawyer Interview, page 16.

‘I’m a hard worker. I routinely bill between 2,900 and 3,400 hours. I’m a workaholic, I admit it. But the last time I looked that was not a crime.’

Fighting talk from Dewey Ballantine chairman Mort Pierce. News, page 76