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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s decision to fire a four-partner team last week after the firm learned of their planned exit to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has surprised many in the market, with a number of partners and recruiters criticizing the decision and warning of the impact it might have on the firm.

The New York team was fired before giving notice about their departure last week in response to a breach of duties to the firm in relation to confidential information and the handling of clients, according to one person close to the situation.

But the unusual move has raised eyebrows among rivals, industry advisers and former partners. Several partners said the move was simply “sour grapes.” One London-based partner at a U.S. firm agreed, and added: ”Their reaction is bad—a sore loser reaction.”

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Varsha Patel

Varsha joined Legal Week in October 2019 after working as a senior editor at LexisNexis. She covers continental Europe and the in-house market. You can reach her on [email protected]

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