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Bird & Bird swoop" />Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) is calling time on its specialist outsourcing practice after losing its three remaining IT outsourcing partners to Bird & Bird.
Department head Simon Shooter is defecting to Bird & Bird along with partners Chris Holder and Christian Bartsch, leaving BLG with no specialist outsourcing partners (www. thelawyer.com, 23 November).
BLG is not looking to rebuild its periphery specialist outsourcing practice, which has suffered from a high associate attrition rate. More than eight senior associates have left the team in the past year.
It is understood that Bird & Bird is now in negotiations to hire all of BLG's remaining outsourcing associates, although BLG is trying to stem their departures by offering them positions in other departments.
"They'll fill in any gaps in the wider commercial team," said BLG senior partner Richard Dedman. "There's a job for all of them."
Dedman said the firm remained committed to having a broad commercial practice in addition to its core areas of litigation and insurance.
"We're going to retain outsourcing expertise for clients who request it, but we will not be marketing it as our core specialism in the commercial field," he added.
Bird & Bird managing partner David Kerr said the hires formed part of the firm's overall plan to grow. "We've been looking at areas that we wanted to build up in London, and outsourcing was one," he said. "[The new hires] are an obvious choice given the profile they have in outsourcing."
The partners will add to Bird & Bird's 38-partner international commercial group, 16 of whom are based in London. A start date is still under negotiation.