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Davies Arnold Cooper is losing its entire London-based intellectual property team to niche firm Henry Hepworth.
Catrin Turner, head of IP, is leaving after eight years at DAC along with a five-strong team to practise contentious and non-contentious IP/IT in media, insurance and retail at Henry Hepworth.
Turner, who will become the third equity partner at the firm, says her move is based on a personal decision to join a smaller practice. She adds that she and her team will continue to work with DAC on a number of non-competing clients.
Nick Sinfield, DAC managing director, denies that Turner's leaving is connected with the recent spate of departures from the firm.
These include the exit of three litigation partners and an associate to join Beachcroft Wansbroughs.
He says: "It sounds like a cliche, but Catrin's decision really was entirely amicable.
"We have been talking to her about this for some time. Catrin left because she wanted to be a big fish in a small niche pond."
In a memo sent to staff and subsequently leaked to The Lawyer, Turner says: "The IP team is in effect setting up on its own. This is not about us joining a competitor."
Turner adds: "Henry Hepworth is a small media IP practice with a similar profile to the department here; it is a good fit."
Sinfield says: "We are a niche practice in a broader sense of the word in that we have core areas in dispute resolution, property and banking, with smaller practices under that umbrella."
He adds: "DAC and Catrin are at different ends of the spectrum."
Michael Henry, partner at Henry Hepworth, says the firm had approached Turner at the beginning of the year.
The team's appointment will bring Henry Hepworth's partner count to five with seven associates.