Hogan Lovells and HSF pair exit to Clifford Chance in Australia

Clifford Chance has hired a partner each from Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith Freehills to strengthen its corporate and private equity practices in Sydney.

Andrew Crook joins the magic circle firm from Hogan Lovells, where he practised for under two years after joining from Australian independent firm Gilbert + Tobin in April 2016.

Mark Currell joins Clifford Chance from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was made up in May 2013.

Their appointments will push the total number of partners in Clifford Chance’s Sydney office to 10 and adds much needed capability in the office’s corporate and M&A practice.

In May 2016, the firm’s former Sydney head and founding partner Mark Pistilli and fellow co-founding partner Danny Simmons left the firm. They later re-emerged as partners in the legal group at PwC. The departure of the two corporate partners left a dent in the UK firm’s Sydney corporate practice.

“We’re witnessing increased levels of corporate and financing activity in the market. Bringing Andrew and Mark on board further strengthens our thriving corporate team in these important areas for our clients, many of whom are key domestic and international players,” said Richard Gordon, Clifford Chance Australia managing partner.

Recently, the firm advised Royal Dutch Shell on the A$3.5bn sale of shares in Australian oil and gas company Woodside. Sydney partner Lance Sacks led the firm’s team on that transaction.

Due to a recent global review of Clifford Chance’s equity structure, several offices in the firm’s global network have been brought down to a 70-point plateau. It is understood that the firm’s Perth office is among those affected by the changes, which resulted in a number of partner departures, including former office managing partner Paul Vinci and corporate partner Justin Harris, who joined local firm Johnson Winter & Slattery (JWS).

However, Asia Pacific regional managing partner Geraint Hughes said the firm is “committed to its Australia practice”, as reflected by the most recent appointments.

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