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Charles Russell pair take Hello! with them" />Hello! magazine's principal external legal adviser Chris Hutchings has quit Charles Russell to launch a media boutique, taking his top client with him.
Hutchings has teamed up with the London firm's head of music Matthew Higden to set up M Law. The firm opens for business today (6 October), with the grandfather of libel law, Peter Carter-Ruck, signed up as a consultant.
In addition to Hello!,clients following Hutchings and Higden include publishing giant Hachette - which runs titles including Elle, Red and Inside Soap - the popular gossip website Popbitch and the two boxers Audley Harrison and Lennox Lewis.
"If we can't chin the opposition then they certainly can," said Higden, who trained with Clifford Chance before stints at Taylor Joynson Garrett and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, as well as a period running tours for musicians such as Robbie Williams and Sting.
Hutchings, embroiled in the ongoing saga between Hello!, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, believes that M Law's mix of corporate and individual clients distinguishes it from existing niche media practices such as Schillings.
The new firm hopes to build on its knowledge of brand management to provide commercial, as well as legal, advice to its clients, but will refer to Charles Russell work that falls outside their remit.
Former Taylor Wessing partner Gary Turrkie also joins the firm as a consultant.