Blow for Shoosmiths as partners quit

Two partners have quit Shoosmiths & Harrison following a restructuring of its Reading and Southampton offices.

Corporate partner Marshall Leopold and commercial property partner John Castell, both from the Reading office, will join Garretts in Reading at the beginning of September.

The restructuring, announced last week, has seen the Northampton firm’s two southern offices re-branded as one operation – Shoosmiths South – headed by corporate partner Sally Norcross-Webb. According to the firm, she will lead a “42-strong corporate finance and commercial team of lawyers”.

Leopold said he disagreed with Shoosmiths’ management policy of running volume conveyancing alongside corporate work and that the restructuring was prompted by his departure.

Managing partner Graham New said the changes would strengthen the firm’s corporate and commercial teams in the south.

But other sources at the firm told The Lawyer that they feared for the future of the personal injury department in Southampton following a string of resignations and the departure of some major insurance clients.

New confirmed that Countrywide and Endsleigh had stopped using the firm but he said it had won two new clients, Churchill and Direct Line.

He said: “Staff come and go all the time. It is certainly not true that the PI department in Southampton will be closed down.”