|Headquarters||10 Upper Bank Street,
London, United Kingdom
|No. of offices||36 offices across 26 countries|
|No. of lawyers||Approx. 3,300|
|Major practice areas||Banking and finance
Corporate and M&A
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Tax, pensions and employment
|Key people||Matthew Layton
|Revenue||£1.36 billion (2013/14)|
|Profit per equity partner||£1.14 million (2013/14)|
|Date founded||1987 (by merger)|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Clifford Chance LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and a member of the "Magic Circle" of leading British law firms. It is one of the ten largest law firms in the world measured both by number of lawyers and revenue. In 2013/14 Clifford Chance had total revenues of £1.36 billion, the highest of any firm in the Magic Circle in that year, and profits per equity partner of £1.14 million.
Clifford Chance was formed in 1987 by the merger of two London-based law firms, Clifford Turner and Coward Chance. In 1999 it merged with the Frankfurt-based firm Pünder, Volhard, Weber & Axster and the New York-based firm Rogers & Wells.
Clifford Chance was formed by the merger of two London-based law firms. The first was Coward Chance, which derived from a firm established in 1802 by Anthony Brown, a fishmonger's son. Brown's firm became embroiled in the Panic of 1825, caused by speculation in South American investments, including the non-existent country of Poyais, invented by Scottish soldier Gregor MacGregor. One of the firm's longest clients was Cecil Rhodes. The firm advised him on his diamond mining business in South Africa, administered his estate after his death and helped set up the famous Rhodes Scholarships. Another client was Guglielmo Marconi. It also helped Midland Bank recover assets in Russia after the 1917 revolution, and advised the state government of Hyderabad on the preparation for Indian independence. The second firm was Clifford Turner, founded in 1900, with offices on Gresham Street, EC2. Its clients included Dunlop Rubber Company and Imperial Airways. In 1929, Clifford Turner advised and witnessed the creation of John Lewis Partnership. After the Second World War it advised the Labour government on the nationalisation of several privately owned industries. It opened offices in Paris in 1961, Amsterdam in 1972 and New York in 1986.
The merger of Clifford Turner and Coward Chance in 1987 led to the formation of Clifford Chance. Neither Clifford Turner nor Coward Chance were first-rank London law firms, but their merger has since been said to have changed the shape and profile of law firms in London and globally. Over the next decade the firm expanded its practices across Europe and Asia and more than doubled in size. In 1992 Clifford Chance became the first major non-US firm to practice US law.
In 1999 Clifford Chance merged with Frankfurt-based law firm Pünder, Volhard, Weber & Axster and with the 1871-established US-based firm Rogers & Wells (the use of the Pünder, Volhard, Weber & Axster and Rogers & Wells branding for their respective European and United States regional offices was discontinued in 2003). In 2002, Clifford Chance launched in California, setting up a branch with nearly 50 attorneys from the disbanding dot-com firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Diego and San Francisco. With California's downturn, the firm closed its Pacific Coast operations in 2007.
Clifford Chance was one of several international law firms that developed local law practices in Japan following the easing of restrictions on foreign law firms in 2005. Although its Magic Circle competitors Allen & Overy and Linklaters significantly downsized this segment of their practice following the 2008 financial crisis, the Tokyo office of Clifford Chance maintains a local law practice, even handling local matters for Japanese clients, and views this capability as critical for an international law firm. Clifford Chance was the highest-ranked European law firm by Japanese corporate legal departments in a December 2013 Nihon Keizai Shimbun survey.
Like other firms in the Magic Circle, the firm lost significant revenue during the late-2000s recession, with its profit dropping by 33.4% in the 2008-9 financial year. As part of cost cutting in response to the recession, in 2009 Clifford Chance announced plans to lay off 80 lawyers and 115 support staff in London. In addition, the firm accepted the redundancy applications of 50 fee earners in London over and above the initial 80 lawyers. 
In May 2011, Clifford Chance opened offices in Australia by merging with two M&A boutique law firms, Sydney-based Chang, Pistilli & Simmons and Perth-based Cochrane Lishman Carson Luscombe. In February 2012, Clifford Chance opened a new office in Casablanca, giving the firm's Africa practice its first permanent on the ground presence in the continent. In July 2012, Clifford Chance became the first UK firm to receive permission from South Korea’s Ministry of Justice to open an office in the country.
In November 2011 it was identified as the largest supplier to the City of London Corporation, having received over £9m in fees from the corporation between January and September of that year.
In 2012, a further 13 lawyers were laid off in London.
Profit per equity partner for 2014 for the firm was £1.14 million; compared to £1.12 million at Allen and Overy; £1.39 million at Linklaters; and £1.48 million at Freshfields.
Main practice areas
Clifford Chance's main practice areas are:
- Banking and finance
- Capital markets
- Corporate & M&A
- Litigation & Dispute resolution
- Real estate
- Tax, pensions and employment
- "About us". Clifford Chance. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "How we manage our firm". Clifford Chance. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- "The Lawyer UK 200 Preview: Come on, united". The Lawyer. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "The 2012 Global 100: A World of Change". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- See J Slinn, Clifford Chance: Its origins and development (1993), partially summarised by A brief history of Clifford Chance
- Fennel, Edward (30 January 2007). "Driving ambition of mega CC - Why the merger of Coward Chance and Clifford Turner changed the way City firms work". The Times. London: News Corporation. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- Dillon, Karen (May 1993), "The British Empire Strikes Back", American Lawyer: 52–56
- Eric Young, "Giant UK firm to quit West Coast", San Francisco Business Times, 2 May 2007. http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2007/03/05/story8.html
- Brennan, Tom (15 July 2013). "Foreign Firms Stumble Going Local in Japan". The Asian Lawyer. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- "企業が選ぶ弁護士ランキング 企業法務１位は中村氏". Nihon Keizai Shimbun. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Mark Ford (Director of the Clifford Chance Knowledge Centre): Clifford Chance's knowledge centre in India: the story so far, Practical Law Company, 28 April 2011, http://plc.practicallaw.com/8-505-7501
- "Clifford Chance Merges With Two Law Firms to Open in Australia". Bloomberg. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Ring, Suzi (16 February 2011). "CC makes Australia debut with local mergers as Asia growth gathers pace". Legal Week.
- "Clifford Chance". cliffordchance.com.
- "City of London spending and income: where does the money come from, and where does it go?". Guardian. 1 November 2011.
- Scott, John (1980). Clifford-Turner. Legibus.
- Slinn, Judy (1993). Clifford Chance: Its Origins and Development. Granta Editions.
- Bose, Mihir, 'Clifford Chance: A Very Peculiar Practice?', Director, March 1990, pp. 65–66, 68, 70.
- 'Playing for Stakes: The Game of Clifford Chance', Legal Business, June 1993, pp. 28–31.
- 'London Braces for the Big Six Invasion', American Lawyer, December 1996, pp. 5–6.
- Rose, Craig, 'Clifford Chance: The Merger That Worked', Commercial Lawyer, Issue 15, 1997, pp. 32–34.
- Morris, John E., 'The New World Order', American Lawyer, August 1999, pp. 92–99.
- 'Merger in the First Degree: British Law Firms Are Forging New Relationships That Could Transform the Style of Global Legal Practice', Time International, 9 August 1999, p. 41.
- Steinberger, Mike, 'Is Clifford Chance/Rogers & Wells the Next Wave, or Simply Overkill?', Investment Dealers' Digest, 9 August 1999, pp. 12–13.