Clifford Chance names antitrust co-chair new Americas managing partner

Sharis Arnold Pozen succeeds Evan Cohen to become first woman to hold the role

Clifford Chance (CC) has named a co-chair of its global antitrust practice as its new regional managing partner for the Americas. 

Sharis Arnold Pozen will take over on 1 May from Evan Cohen, who has led the UK Magic Circle firm’s Americas division for the past decade. The decision sees Pozen become the first woman to serve in the role. 

Pozen will take on the key strategic task of growing the firm's US platform, a stated ambition of all four global Magic Circle UK law firms as they seek to raise their profitabilty by tapping into the lucrative US market. 

“I am proud to announce the appointment of Sharis onto our leadership team,” said CC’s global managing partner, Charles Adams. “The Americas is a key priority for the firm and the region is awash with opportunities for our clients and people. I have had the privilege of working closely with Sharis in her role as co-chair of the antitrust practice and her rich leadership experience in government, private practice and in-house on the client side will deliver real value in driving our growth strategy.”

Pozen joined CC in 2019 as co-chair of its antitrust group from General Electric, where she was vice president of global competition law and policy.

Before that she was a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and held senior positions the US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission. She currently leads CC’s antitrust group from Washington DC alongside Dusseldorf-based partner Marc Besen and advises clients including GE, Shell and Pfizer. 

CC has 360 attorneys including 82 partners spread across offices in New York, Washington DC and Sao Paulo, which it said work closely with the firm’s US-qualified lawyers in other regions. The firm is noted in the Americas by legal rankings guide Chambers and Partners across its main practice areas of banking and finance, capital markets, corporate, litigation, real and tax, pensions and employment. 

Americas revenue for the 2021/2 financial year rose by 5.3% to £259m, accounting for just 15% of its global revenue. That imbalance in its global income illustrates the extent of the challenge it and its main UK rivals face as they seek to make a major impact in the US.

Its regional revenue nevertheless puts it ahead of Allen & Overy, which has been grabbing the headlines thanks to a series of strategic moves that has seen it open offices in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Boston. That investment fuelled a 56.6% rise in Americas revenue to £252.4m in 2021/2.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which has also been investing heavily in the US since its eye-catching opening of a Silicon Valley office in 2020, is yet to file its LLP accounts for the last financial year, but reported Americas income of £174m for the previous reporting period. 

Pozen commented: "I am incredibly proud to be appointed to lead our Americas region into what is a very bright future. We are an ambitious team, and I am eager for us to work together to continue our strong momentum from Evan's leadership."

New York-based Cohen is stepping down after ten years as Americas managing partner and will return to his practice, which focuses on acquisition and leveraged finance, project finance, syndicated lending and restructurings. He joined the firm back in 1999 from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

“It has been an honour to lead our Americas team over the past decade,” Cohen said. “It is an exciting time for us in the region and Sharis' energy and experience captures what makes us stand out in the market – I'm confident that Clifford Chance will continue to grow under her leadership.”

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