Ex-partner brings claim against Chadbourne over delayed capital repayment

A former Chadbourne & Parke partner has brought a claim against the firm for delaying repayment of her capital contribution worth almost £80,000.

Melanie Willems (pictured), who is now head of international arbitration at Andrews Kurth, claims that the firm has not yet repaid her contributions, leaving her to pay interest on a bank loan she took out to cover the payments.

Willems became a partner in the London office of US firm Chadbourne & Parke in April 2010, before leaving in September this year.

According to a claim form filed at the London Mercantile Court on 30 October and seen by Legal Week, she took out a US$127,000 (£79,070) loan from Citibank to pay into the firm’s capital.

The claim states that in the firm’s partnership agreement with Willems, Chadbourne says it will repay the capital contribution “as soon as reasonably practicable following termination”. Willems left Chadbourne on 23 September this year and claims that she has still not been repaid.

According to the claim, the Citibank loan is accruing daily interest, calculated at 2.35% per annum over the base rate.

Willems is demanding Chadbourne pay Citibank the full amount of the loan as well as any damages equal to interest that Willems is required to pay from the date of the termination of the partnership agreement.

In a statement Chadbourne said: “Ms Willems’ action is baseless and extremely misguided. We will fight this matter as appropriate.”

Willems declined to comment.