The ladies’ room at Clifford Chance’s New York office is replete with small luxuries usually found in the dressing rooms of private clubs — moisturizing lotion, hair spray, mouthwash and fragrance, among other niceties. But what really stands out are the bottles of Molton Brown soap perched to the right of each basin. Fine English soap gracing the counters of a washroom in midtown Manhattan is a minor yet telling detail. Like Molton Brown, Clifford Chance is a London-based institution that has transformed itself into an international brand — albeit one that has had a hell of a time keeping some of its American partners in line since a messy 2000 merger with New York’s Rogers & Wells.

The war between the British and American factions is long finished, say Clifford Chance partners on both sides of the Atlantic. They add that the firm’s United States offices (in New York and Washington, D.C.) are now thriving. “The idea and reality of Rogers & Wells are over,” says U.S. managing partner Craig Medwick, a Rogers & Wells veteran. “Now we have the Clifford Chance way of doing business. We have uniform expectations, a uniform selection process for partners, and uniform training. The Clifford Chance academy is like the McDonald’s academy.” Unity and consistency, he says, have stopped the talent drain and allowed the firm to rebuild.

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