Curtis Davis recruit deserts to take Lawrence Graham post

Former Herbert Smith partner Charles Baker has left specialist shipping practice Curtis Davis Garrard only eight months after joining.

He returns to the City as an equity partner at Lawrence Graham's 15-strong shipping group today (18 October).

Baker joined the niche firm after Herbert Smith disbanded its shipping practice at the end of last year.

Lawrence Graham originally approached Baker at the same time as Heathrow-based Curtis Davis Garrard.

Lawrence Graham's senior partner Martyn Gowar says: “When he was part of the Herbert Smith team we were interested in his joining us.

“But the issue was that the negotiations with Curtis Davis Garrard had gone too far and he felt he had to go.”

Baker denies he regrets his time at the firm but adds: “It might have gone differently if the discussions with Lawrence Graham had started earlier.”

The shipping expert will take his clients to the new firm with him.

He says: “My clients tend to have been with me for many years and all of them are coming with me.”

Baker says he has left because commuting from his home town of Tonbridge in Kent to Heathrow is too arduous.

He calls it “a grave miscalculation of a mundane nature on my part”. But Baker concedes he misses the City. He says: “It will certainly be quite great to see a lot of familiar faces again.”

He adds his departure is “amicable”. Curtis Davis Garrard is unavailable for comment.

Fellow ex-Herbert Smith partner Mike Allen, who joined Curtis Davis Garrard with Baker, has moved house and will remain with the firm.