Expelled Bangkok head set for feud with Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance will shortly be hit with a lawsuit from its former Bangkok head after he was expelled from the partnership.

Daniel Kaiser, a partner at New York’s Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, representing Wirot Poonsuwan, who was suspended from the firm last year over issues related to his contribution, confirmed that claims against Clifford Chance were imminent. “Nothing’s been filed yet,” said Kaiser, “but it’s coming soon.”

Clifford Chance is being represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

The looming threat of litigation arrives after the firm’s partnership voted to expel Poonsuwan, which is the first time Clifford Chance has made such a move.

Poonsuwan’s expulsion took effect on 31 March after he was given the opportunity to address Clifford Chance’s partners at a meeting last month. According to the firm, disagreements arose between the parties after concerns were raised about Poonsuwan’s contribution.

Peter Cornell, managing partner at Clifford Chance, told The Lawyer: “We regret that this situation has arisen, but the partnership vote on expulsion enables us now to move on.

“Poonsuwan’s actions were unacceptable and incompatible with partnership. The firm rejects his allegations and is satisfied that there is no substance in them.”

As revealed by The Lawyer (31 January), Poonsuwan was claiming a £30m payoff from the firm and had launched a criminal prosecution against Bangkok partner Tim Jeffares for alleged defamation.

Poonsuwan also made a series of claims against Clifford Chance that included race discrimination and fraud.

Poonsuwan first joined Clifford Chance in 1999 after a merger with his firm Wirot International. Previously, Poonsuwan practised with Baker & McKenzie, which he left in 1995 after 10 years with the firm.