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Clifford Chance (CC) is set to see its Italian practice downsize further with the depature of three capital markets partners later this week (30 April).

Former Italian structured finance head Paolo Calderaro and fellow capital markets partners Michele Crisostomo and Silvio Riolo are all leaving CC to set up boutique firm Riolo Calderaro Crisostomo. So far it has been confirmed that one senior associate will join the partners in the new venture.

The three partners, who are highly rated in the Italian market, are all based in CC’s Milan office. The defections leave the firm with 23 partners in its 140-lawyer Italian practice.

Representing a near 12% reduction of the Italian partnership, the departures mark a further fall on the 17% drop in headcount across the two offices over the past two years. The firm had 175 lawyers at the end of January 2007, but just 145 at the same time this year.

The news comes as CC relocates London corporate partner Kathy Honeywood to Shanghai for a short-term secondment. She was previously seconded to Shanghai in 2006-07. She has worked on a number of major Chinese deals, including on Chinalco’s pending $19.5bn (£13.3bn) investment in Rio Tinto.

In addition, the firm is relocating senior finance associate David Lam to Shanghai on 1 May for a year’s secondment. Lam has previously spent two years at CC’s Beijing office.

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