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The driving force behind Arthur Andersen's link-up with Dundas & Wilson, Brian Dorman, has left the Scottish law firm.
His departure is prompting rivals to question whether three-year salaried contracts for partners, introduced after the Arthur Andersen link-up, will lead to an exodus of partners from the Scottish firm.
Dorman, the former managing partner and founder of Dorman Jeffrey, took his firm into the Andersen Worldwide network of law firms in 1996, before merging with Dundas & Wilson the next year.
But it is understood Dorman did not retain an equity stake on merger and did not, as expected, get a place on the executive board of the merged firm.
A source says the departure has surprised the Scottish legal community: "He was the architect of the Arthur Andersen link-up. It is a real surprise in view of its apparent success."
But Dundas & Wilson managing partner Chris Campbell says Dorman's move has been on the cards for some time.
Dorman will continue his relationship with Dundas & Wilson as a consultant. Campbell says. "He will continue to assist with contacts in the Scottish business community," he says.
Dundas & Wilson Corporate partners Graeme Bruce and Eric Galbraith will take over Dorman's clients.