Former Clifford Chance Australia founders launch Sydney boutique

Clifford Chance’s former Australia managing partner Mark Pistilli and fellow founding partner Danny Simmons have launched their own Sydney boutique.

The pair, whose departure from the magic circle firm was announced in February, launched the new firm Pistilli Simmons on 1 May.

Both partners were part of the magic circle firm’s initial team in the country, coming on board when it merged with Sydney firm Chang Pistilli & Simmons in 2011.

Pistilli said: “We have established our corporate boutique, which is only one week old and we are now adding lawyers. Others are joining us shortly from Clifford Chance and elsewhere.”

The firm has hired senior counsel Jane Ann Gray and counsel Joni Henry from Clifford Chance already.

Simmons said: “We think there is a place in the market for a boutique of a similar size as we used to have – a 10-partner, 20-lawyer offering. A low leverage team of high level lawyers utilising technology to undertake work traditionally undertaken by more junior lawyers.

“We are talking to clients about what they think will be the most compelling legal model going forward.”

Clients that have followed Simmons and Pistilli to the new firm include Australian gas infrastructure giant APA Group, Japanese trading company Sumitomo Corporation and Anglo-Swiss commodity trading and mining company Glencore.

The new firm is also cooperating with Clifford Chance on a number of current mandates and is open to working with the firm on future matters.

Clifford Chance has not appointed a new head of Australia but Diana Chang, the third founder of Clifford Chance’s Australia operation, is the Sydney managing partner and Paul Vinci heads up Perth.