A four-partner New York litigation team has defected from Clifford Chance to launch a Manhattan-based arbitration boutique.

Former head of litigation at Clifford Chance and partner Peter Chaffetz has launched the firm with partners David Lindsey, Charlie Scibetta and James Hosking as well as counsel Cecilia Moss.

The new firm, Chaffetz Lindsey, focuses on international arbitration, reinsurance and commercial litigation. The firm officially opened for business yesterday (Tuesday 5 May).

Hoskings said: “We have worked together at Clifford Chance for a long time. We wanted to take our practice to the next level and be able to launch a firm dedicated to arbitration and reinsurance.”

Hoskings added that Clifford Chance’s extensive client base caused conflict issues for the arbitration and reinsurance team.

Chaffetz Lindsey has also recruited two associates from Clifford Chance. Hosking said: “It’s early days for us but we are focused on building the team further.”

The move comes at time of great turbulence for Clifford Chance. As well as conducting its global partnership restructuring the US litigation team suffered a spate of defections last year.

In December The Lawyer reported on former US head John Carroll and partner Warren Feldman and David Meister defecting to Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (2 December).

Last October the firm laid of 20 litigation associates from its US offices.

A spokesperson for Clifford Chance said: “I can confirm that partners Peter Chaffetz, David Lindsey, Charlie Scibetta, James Hosking and counsel Cecilia Moss have left Clifford Chance to start their own firm – Chaffetz Lindsey LLP. We wish them well.”