Over a quarter of Cleary Gottlieb's London office has quit in the last six months.
More than 26 lawyers have jumped ship. With approximately 100 solicitors in the office in total, the departures blow a gaping hole in the firm's City presence.
The Clexit (sorry) included the firm's head of non-contentious financial services regulation, Bob Penn, who left in the summer to rejoin Allen & Overy just two years after he departed from the Magic Circle firm. RollOnFriday understands that he took Cleary's entire financial regulatory team with him (A&O declined to comment). Another high-profile exit, by David Toube, followed. He headed Cleary's firm's European bank regulatory practice. But no more.
A source told RollOnFriday that remaining associates are "unhappy and slammed", and that, given the insane salaries on offer, now might be a good time to put in a CV. "Cleary are desperately interviewing to cover associate losses", said the insider.
A spokesman for Cleary said, "We do not believe the information you received accurately reflects life at Cleary", and that "An 'unhappy and slammed' workforce, as has been suggested, is not consistent with the results of our annual engagement survey".
He conceded, "It is fair to say that this year we have had a higher concentration of departures than we normally do in any given year". But he said it reflected "in part, our cultural approach of allowing people who are moving on plenty of time to find their preferred choices of position – last year and the previous year we had fewer departures than we normally do".
"In our experience these things are cyclical and over the last three years (including the current year) our attrition is in line with with our experience over the years as well as attrition in the market generally."