Equity share-out blamed for Halliwell Landau departures

Halliwell Landau is losing two partners from its Manchester office as it continues to grapple with retention issues.

Stephen Hattersley, a partner in insurance litigation, is joining Hill Dickinson only weeks after being made a partner in Halliwells' latest round of promotions, which were announced in January.

John McMahon, a partner in intellectual property (IP), is joining Hewitson Becke + Shaw, which is based in Cambridge, where he will step down to assistant level. However, the managing partner at the firm Alan Brett says that there is an agreement that McMahon will become a partner shortly after joining the firm.

Hewitsons handles IP work for a number of high-profile clients including Microsoft, Novell, Nike and DaimlerChrysler.

While Hewitsons has recently taken on a number of partners, the most recent construction litigation specialist David Rogers from Garretts' Manchester office, Halliwells has lost a number of lawyers.

Paul Conroy, an up-and-coming property partner, is joining Addleshaw Booth & Co, while former head of insolvency at Halliwells Andrew Livesey joined North West firm Taylors.

Commenting on the departures, one source says: "The main reason is that Halliwells will not open up the equity to partners." He adds that out of more than 50 partners, just 20 are classed within the equity bracket.

However, it is understood that the firm is reviewing its equity submissions, which are due to be finalised at year end on 30 April. But it is believed that there are no plans to suddenly open up the number of equity partners.

Alec Craig, senior partner at Halliwells, says: "The strength of Halliwells is in its partners and we have to look after them, be they equity, salaried or otherwise, and that is what we intend to do."

Hill Dickinson is also making another lateral hire, as Keoghs' former h

ead of insurance fraud Howard Jones joins the Liverpool firm's 40-partner insurance litigation team.