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Dickinson Dees’ family law team will leave the firm later this year to set up a new firm called Silk Family Law.
The niche outfit will be headed by Dickinson Dees family law head Margaret Simpson and barrister Ian Kennerley.
A total of 16 Dickinson Dees staff will leave the firm including two partners, one director, three solicitors and two legal advisors. It will set up offices in Newcastle and North Yorkshire. Last year the family law team contributed around £1.5m to the firm’s £53.8m turnover.
Dickinson Dees managing partner Jonathan Blair said the move was “mutually beneficial” for both firms, which will have a best friends referral relationship when Silk Family Law goes live in the autumn.
“Margaret and Ian came to us with a proposal saying they would like to set up their own niche practice,” said Blair. “Margaret and Ian have the best family law practice in the area and we therefore ruled out recruiting to replace them because we wouldn’t find a team of the calibre that Dickinson Dees would need to have. We decided that if we can’t be the best we want to support the best.”
Simpson said that a driver behind the decision to spin off from Dickinson Dees was growing demand among clients to use smaller, niche firms for family law matters.
She said: “Dickinson Dees has been a great home for us but the time is now right for us to establish our own niche practice.”
She added: “We have great friends here and there’s been no falling out of any sort. The discussions we had with Jonathan have been dignified and respectful.”