DWS to fight on after raid by Chadbourne

Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) will rebuild its London contentious insurance and reinsurance practice after losing its five-partner group to Chadbourne & Parke.

As first revealed on www. thelawyer.com on 24 Jan-uary, senior equity partners Chris Cardona, Adrian Mecz and Michelle George are joining Chadbourne alongside salaried partners Mark Pring and John Barlow.

DWS is discussing resurrecting the contentious insurance group, probably by promoting partners from the remaining associates.

One partner said: “We’re confident of rebuilding our insurance competencies in time. We’d rather have a broader offering than a narrow insurance offering.”

The departures may actually solve a property problem, however. The insurance team has long operated from separate premises on Leadenhall Street and the firm hopes to exit the lease next year.

The mass hire will see Chadbourne’s London office grow by 50 per cent to 15 partners and it will be the firm’s first contentious insurance and reinsurance practice. Currently, the 10-partner London office has capabilities in product liability defence, project finance and corporate.

DWS outgoing chief executive Virginia Glastonbury told The Lawyer that the contentious insurance team frequently faced conflicts with the larger banking practice. Chadbourne has no major UK banking practice, although the firm does some work for the Royal Bank of Scotland on project financings.

At the same time, DWS’s real estate practice has lost popular real estate partner Martin Quicke for Clyde & Co’s Guildford offices. However, the group will gain a new partner in the form of Glastonbury, who is expected to return to property work after her term as chief executive expires on 7 February.

DWS will retain its non-contentious insurance group.