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28 April 2021

Clifford Chance promotes record number of women in 29-strong round

Eleven women make the grade; minority ethnic target also met

By Madeline Anderson

Four of the new partners: (l-r) Adam Craig, Richard Evans, Olamide Oladosu, Laura Smallcombe

Clifford Chance has promoted 29 partners in its latest round, with 11 women making the cut, accounting for 38% of new promotions, the firm’s highest number of promoted female partners to date.

By elevating 11 women to its partnership network, the firm brings its total percentage of female partners up to 20%, up from 17% in 2015. 

This year’s gender split puts it behind magic circle rivals Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (50%) and Linklaters (40%) but ahead of Allen & Overy (33%). 

According to the firm, the rolling average of promoted female partners (32%) is also the highest it's ever been, putting it on track to meet its target of at least 40% female partners in the firm by 2030. 

The UK and mainland Europe were heavily favoured in this year’s batch of promotions. Eleven lawyers moved up the ranks in the firm’s London headquarters and nine were made up across its European offices, including three in Germany, two in Luxembourg, and one apiece in Belgium, The Netherlands and France. 

This year’s round included five US appointments, a slight dip from last year’s four, with three promotions in New York and one in Washington DC. 

The firm reported that 20% of the new US and UK partners who have disclosed ethnicity identified as non-white, exceeding the firm’s 15% minority ethnic target in the US and UK by 2025. 

Three corporate lawyers were elevated to the partnership across the firm’s Asia Pacific network, with Jacob Kahwaji and Reuben van Werkum making the grade in Sydney and Yufei Liao moving up in Beijing. 

The Middle East gained two new partners in Abu Dhabi: Nicola Reader (finance) and Sahel Mughal (corporate). The firm also promoted one partner in Morocco — Casablanca-based financial markets specialist Ouns Lemseffer. 

In terms of practice areas, there was a big jump in both corporate and finance promotions with each practice gaining 12 lawyers apiece compared to 7 in corporate and 6 in finance in 2020. 

Three partners were added to the firm’s London-based litigation and dispute resolution team, and tax and real estate each gained one partner apiece, with Alastair Windass (tax) and Philipp Stoecker (real estate) stepping up in London and Frankfurt, respectively. 

The firm also highlighted the fact that 18 members of the new partner class are involved in ESG-related work, echoing the growing emphasis on the ESG movement among top UK and international law firms. 

Matthew Layton, Clifford Chance’s global managing partner, said: "I'd like to congratulate each and every one of our new partners for reaching this important milestone in their career. It is a testament to their commitment to being trusted advisers to our clients on their most complex and important challenges and opportunities.”

“Together they underline the quality, diversity, and depth of talent that underpins our strategy and they embody the collaborative and inclusive culture that is at the heart of our firm. Promoting these new partners reinforces our ambitious commitment to invest in our firm for today and into the future."

The full list of partners

Africa

Ouns Lemseffer (global financial markets)

Americas

Neil Barlow (corporate)

Daniel Drabkin (corporate)

Jessica Springsteen (global financial markets)

Andrew Young (global financial markets)

Asia Pacific

Jacob Kahwaji (corporate)

Yufei Liao (corporate)

Reuben van Werkum (corporate)

Continental Europe

Stefanie Ferring (global financial markets)

Ashwin van Rooijen (corporate)

Dimitri Slobodenjuk (corporate)

Maren Stadler-Tjan (corporate)

Nienke van Stekelenburgh (global financial markets)

Philipp Stoecker (real estate)

Cristina Weidner (global financial markets)

Milica Zatezalo-Falatar (global financial markets)

Middle East

Sahel Mughal (corporate)

Nicola Reader (global financial markets)

United Kingdom

Jonathan Bray (corporate)

Adam Craig (global financial markets)

Richard Evans (global financial markets)

Stephanie Huts (litigation and dispute resolution)

Christopher Ingham (litigation and dispute resolution)

Charlotte Madden (corporate)

Olamide Oladosu (global financial markets)

Laura Smallcombe (global financial markets)

Nick Spurrell (corporate)

Sachin Trikha (litigation and dispute resolution)

Alastair Windass (tax, pensions, and employment)

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