The former Brobeck Phleger & Harrison chairman who masterminded Clifford Chance’s ill-fated US West Coast venture has praised the magic circle firm as he returns to private practice.

Tower Snow, who has joined San Francisco firm Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin as a securities litigation partner after spending three years as an independent consultant, said he was disappointed his relationship with Clifford Chance came to an end years ago, adding that he bore no grudge.

“Clifford Chance is one of the world’s great law firms and although our strategic vision didn’t work out, that didn’t in any way diminish my enormous respect for the law firm,” he said.

Snow led a team of 17 Brobeck partners who ­convinced Clifford Chance to set up its West Coast operation seven years ago. In May 2004 Snow was ousted ;from ;Clifford Chance’s partnership.