Clifford Chance elects descendant to age-old global managing partner Layton
On May 1, 2022, the European head will take over at the end of Layton's second four-year term. Managing partner Charles Adams will succeed Matthew Layton at Clifford Chance, the Magic Circle law firm in the UK.
Adams currently serves as Clifford Chance's regional managing partner for Continental Europe and will assume that role after Layton's second four-year term ends on 1 May 2022.
Adams joined Clifford Chance in 1992 and was named as a partner eight years later in its global financial markets practice. His clients include BNP Paribas, ChemChina, Pirelli, and ChemChina. He also advises clients throughout Latin America on infrastructure financings. A dual-qualified lawyer in Italy and England and Wales, he advises clients like BNP Paribas, ChemChina and Pirelli.
Adams called his election "an absolute privilege". He added: "The past few years have shown what we can achieve and I look ahead to continue in building our success with Clifford Chance partners and my colleagues." "Our most important priority will be to ensure that we are the best choice for our clients and the best talent overall."
Since 2015, Layton has guided Clifford Chance through a period of significant growth. It includes rebalancing of its client base, expanding its reach among the financial community and investing in high-value areas like technology and ESG. Clifford Chance also announced the opening of a new R&D hub early 2021 to speed up the development of digital products for its clients.
The firm has seen global revenue growth of 35percent to £1.83 billion since 2015, but profit-per-equity-partner has risen by 65percent to £1.85 million. In 2020, however, it posted revenue growth of 1percent, which was the slowest of the four global Magic Circle firms in the UK - Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer - although it still led the pack in revenue terms.
The firm has not yet made a similar strategic announcement in the crucial US market to Freshfields and Allen & Overy, which have both opened West Coast offices in the past 18 months.
As a founding partner of Clifford Chance, since 1983, Layton has served as global head of the corporate practice before becoming managing partner of the firm in 2014. He concentrates on domestic and cross-border public and private M&A, with a particular emphasis on private equity transactions.
As for Charles Layton, Layton noted: "I know that he is committed to maintaining Clifford Chance's leading position in the legal industry. Our special culture is ingrained in him, and he is highly motivated to ensure that this will continue to make us the law firm of choice for our clients and our employees."
According to him, it is an "honor" to serve as Clifford Chance's managing partner and he is "extremely proud of what we have achieved collectively through the hard work, dedication, teamwork, and remarkable expertise of so many colleagues."
Roland Turnill, head of M&A at the Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May, will succeed Steve Cooke, who steps down in May 2024, as the firm's next senior partner. As part of a shake-up in the firm's executive function, Deborah Finkler was recently elected as the firm's first-ever managing partner. She will also be joined by a chief operating officer from outside the partnership.
Both Freshfields and Linklaters have recently changed leadership, including appointing a woman to the top management role, like Slaughters. In May, Linklaters appointed Aedamar Comiskey as its global head of corporate practice. Just weeks after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's Georgia Dawson became the first woman to lead the Magic Circle firm.