•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

Clifford Chance India head Wyman retires after 16 months in India with AZB


Clifford Chance India head Chris Wyman has retired from the law after spending 16 months on secondment at the offices of Indian best friend AZB & Partners. Clifford Chance Singapore office head Geraint Hughes will succeed Wyman as India practice head.

55-year-old banking and project finance partner Wyman, who had joined Clifford Chance in 1979 as an articled clerk and became partner in 1986, said that his retirement was now already four-and-a-half years behind his original schedule and he had spent a number of years thinking about taking the step.

Wyman (pictured) said that he would retire from legal practice although he did not intend to stop working completely and was considering several options. “I'm sure I'll do something else,” he said. “The standard advice you get is to take a few months before you commit to anything and make sure you get it right.”

He added that 55 was not unusual age for partners at London law firms to retire. “If you look at very many City of London law firms, most retire after 50.” He said that it was pretty rare for people to continue beyond that age, unlike in the US where law firm partners could continue practising even after death, he quipped.

Clifford Chance Singapore managing partner Geraint Hughes, who also specialises in banking and project finance like Wyman, will take over from Wyman as the firm’s India group head at the age of 43, confirmed Hughes. He made Clifford Chance partnership in 1999 having joined the firm from Slaughter and May.

Wyman said that apart from one short break he had spent 16 months in India with AZB since first moving to the country on secondment in June 2009, which had originally been planned as an open-ended three-month stint to build the two firms’ relationships after their tie-up earlier the same year. Wyman has spent far more time with AZB than any other Clifford Chance partner, although it is understood that partners and lawyers from both firms have visited each others’ offices and even been seconded, such as in the case of partner Vaishali Sharma who joined Khaitan & Co in October.

Wyman is currently travelling in India on holiday after he retired earlier this month.

Clifford Chance London-based senior partner Stuart Popham said that Wyman had now reached his long-planned retirement date with the firm: “Chris has done a great job for Clifford Chance throughout his over 30 years with the firm, especially in the banking and project finance area and with his long term engagement with matters in India.

“Of course, there are other partners such as Ed Bradley and Rahul Guptan who have had a lot to do with India. While, no doubt, Chris will be missed, he leaves behind a large group of very capable and very experienced partners.”

AZB Mumbai co-founding partner Bahram Vakil added: “It was really wonderful having him here, genuinely it was. He is an amazing guy and I wish him a lot of happiness in his retirement.” AZB co-founding partner Zia Mody did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Popham also declined to comment about the strategic direction of the tie-up with AZB, whether there had been an increase in work-flow from India and his view on the eventual liberalisation of the Indian legal market because the topics were “commercially sensitive”, he said.

In July Popham told Bloomberg that Clifford Chance would have an office in India by 2012, when the country would lift its restrictions on foreign lawyers practising there.

The High Court in Chennai is currently hearing a case against 31 foreign law firms that are allegedly practising law illegally. A hearing in the case on Wednesday was yet again adjourned to January 2011 to enable Indian lawyers’ regulatory body the Bar Council of India (BCI) to take a position on the entry of foreign law firms.

Click to show 4 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.