CC trio in race to replace Childs as firm gears up for November election

Candidates for MP role begin canvassing as partners point to Layton as frontrunner 

The three candidates in the race to succeed Clifford Chance managing partner David Childs have begun canvassing the partnership ahead of a November vote. 

Global head of corporate Matthew Layton (pictured), Paris managing partner Yves Wehrli and real estate finance partner Andrew Carnegie have emerged as the only candidates to replace Childs after the nominations process concluded last week. 

Hustings are set to begin in early to mid-November, with the first round of voting scheduled towards the end of the month. Partners expect to receive manifestos from the candidates imminently.

Sources have pointed to Layton as the frontrunner to replace Childs, with Wehrli following closely behind. 

A former CC partner said: “Matthew is the standout candidate, no question about it. He has done a great job with the corporate practice. Yves is a great operator, but the question marks around him relate to how he would be managing a much more significant business than just the Paris business, as well as concerns over cultural fit.

“Andrew is not seen as a serious competitor in comparison to the others. In my opinion he is the poorer candidate. He has limited management experience.”

Childs, who had served as chief operating officer at the firm since 2003, was first elected as CC managing partner following an uncontested vote in 2006. 

He will stand down in May, at the end of his second and final four-year term. As Legal Week reported earlier last month, he is considering his options for the future, with partners expecting him to opt for a role outside the firm after he leaves the top job.

Childs’ successor will head up the firm alongside CC senior partner Malcolm Sweeting, who took up a four-year term in January 2011 when he saw off London tax partner Jonathan Elman and German corporate partner Daniela Weber-Rey in a contested vote to succeed the outgoing Stuart Popham.

At the time, Wehrli had also been tipped by many in the firm to launch a bid for the senior partner job but pulled out of the race, leading to speculation he would take a run at Childs’ job.

None of the candidates responded to requests for comment, while CC declined to comment.