Berrymans Lace Mawer is implementing plans to reassert employment as a national practice area, after its sole employment partner left for Reading firm Boyes Turner.
Berrymans' Manchester office has hired partner Michael Parr from local firm Rowley Dickinson. Parr works for corporate and professional clients and is understood to be bringing his practice with him. He is effectively a replacement for the loss of an employment capability in the North; Berrymans' Liverpool-based commercial department left for Brabner Holden Banks Wilson (The Lawyer, 9 October 2000). Berrymans' Manchester managing partner Andrew Relton said: "Michael has a brief to develop and expand our employment practice. This is a departure from our traditional areas in this office. We're finding that there is an increasing overlap between our work and the employment arena. Michael will dovetail with what we do and also add a new area." Relton anticipates recruiting a team to work with Parr in the near future. Parr's arrival coincides with the departure of London-based employment partner Barry Stanton to Boyes Turner. The Reading firm now has two employment partners and four other fee-earners in the team, led by Michael Farrier. Stanton is understood to have taken a number of clients with him. He said: "I wanted to develop my career in a team environment, which is what Boyes Turner offered me. At Berrymans I was very much on my own." But Berrymans' national senior partner Paul Taylor, who recently relinquished the role of London senior partner, said: "Part of the refocusing of my role is that the firm is very keen, as part of its business plan, to develop national specialisms rather than just local specialisms. There are a number of areas we're looking to increase - employment is one of them." Taylor said the firm was already interviewing employment specialists for the London office. A hire to the Southampton office is also being considered. Berrymans signed a referral arrangement with City firm Druces & Attlee after the departure of the Liverpool team to help it offer a full service to clients (The Lawyer, 28 May). Taylor said: "We have Druces & Attlee in London and it does employment work, but we're looking to maintain [employment] down here. "Historically we've always had one [employment lawyer] in the North and one in the South."