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ADDLESHAW Booth & Co's highly rated corporate finance team has lost department head Andrew Needham, who is setting up his own firm.
Needham - widely seen as a leading corporate finance lawyer in the North West - is co-founding DataGroup, an IT services group.
DataGroup plans, with backing from Schroder Ventures, to become a £150m company within three years by making a series of company acquisitions in the IT sector.
Needham, an Addleshaws partner for over 20 years and corporate finance head since 1991, will leave in September.
He goes after a bumper year for the corporate finance department, which advised on deals worth a record £2.2bn last year. The department has already advised on deals worth over £1.4bn in the first six months of 1998.
Jonathan Shorrock, a partner at the firm since 1990, has already taken over as head of the corporate finance department, which has 16 partners and 45 other fee earners.
Addleshaws' senior partner Paul Lee said: "Andrew has made an enormous contribution to our firm and we owe him a significant debt of gratitude for his personal expertise and his leadership."