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DIBB Lupton Broomhead's head of employment law in London, Jill Andrew, has resigned after only one year with the firm.
At least one of her three assistants is thought to be following in her wake.
Andrew is restrained from speaking about her departure by an agreement with the firm. Baker & McKenzie employment partner Fraser Younson, acting for Andrew, is similarly restrained.
However, other leading lawyers say it appears she left after several months of personality clashes culminating in the firm's decision to bring in someone to take over the management function - understood to be Denton Hall employment head, Stephanie Dale.
"High-profile, successful people like Jill need sensitive handling. When they are bringing in a lot of business, you need to give them scope," says a top City employment lawyer.
"Losing a rainmaker like Jill is a big blow. She is thought to have brought a lot of business into the Dibbs department and she did well to be elected and re-elected to the London Chamber of Commerce," says a lawyer friend.
Paul Nicholls, Manchester office managing partner and Dibbs' head of human resources law, says: "Jill is an excellent lawyer. We are sorry to see her go."
Andrew is understood to be joining niche employment practice Langley & Co.
Meanwhile, Dibbs' difficulties with a dissatisfied client's threats of legal action or complaint continue, with just weeks before a major court case.
The client, the Graphical, Paper and Media Union, remains at odds with the firm despite Dibbs' attempts at placation.
Its concern is over Dibbs' decision in December to terminate the involvement of Sean Hand, then a Dibbs pensions consultant (The Lawyer 7 March).