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Leading libel firm Crockers has taken on seven partners from the property and media departments of Oswald Hickson Collier, to create one of the City's largest libel practices.
The newly-merged firm is to be called Crockers Oswald Hickson. The future of Oswalds' remaining seven partners and several assistants, mostly from the firm's insurance department, is not yet clear.
Oswald media and property staff will move across to seven-partner Crockers' offices at 10 Gough Square. Crockers' highly-respected libel lawyer, Rupert Grey, will become joint senior partner of the new firm with Crocker's current managing partner Simon Kingston.
Crockers' acquisition includes Oswalds' two libel stars, Richard Shillito and senior partner Paul Davies, who will be a consultant, as will Oswalds insurance partner Tim Cox.
Grey said: "We shall be in a far stronger position to provide the legal advice and services required by the emerging new media." He added that he wanted to take on intellectual property lawyers.
Michael Hudson, head of Oswalds' commercial department, joins commercial practice Jerrard Saunders Donn this week. Insurance partner Miles Tomkins said: "The insurance department is making its own arrangements, but is not ready to make an announcement."
As well as a large department specialising in libel and copyright, Crockers Oswald Hickson has property, personal injury, private client and company/commercial departments.
Shillito said: "It seemed to us only common sense to pool our resources."
Lloyd's names litigation came to an end last year, leaving Oswalds' insurance department with less work, and insurance partner Keith Mathieson left for Davies Arnold Cooper in March.
Crockers' existing senior partner, Richard Hudson, retires in June and will become a consultant to the firm.