Eversheds, Byrne and Partners swoop as Pannone, S&G tie-up looms

Pannone regulatory head Anthony Barnfather will join Slater & Gordon (S&G) when the firms combine despite initially resisting the move.

The regulatory group was understood to have been against the planned merger when it was first mooted, with sources raising questions over whether S&G would absorb the group.

Barnfather is currently part of a three-partner team, but compliance advisory head Zia Ullah is planning to leave the firm for Eversheds, while London office head Sara Teasdale, a white-collar crime specialist, is to join Byrne and Partners.

Ullah joins Eversheds’ fraud and investigations group, which is headed by Neil Blundell. Blundell is a partner alumni of Russell Jones & Walker (RJW), which gave S&G its first step into the UK legal market when the pair merged in January 2012 (30 January 2012). He left RJW to head the fraud team for Eversheds in 2008 (6 May 2008).

Blundell’s former RJW boss, Rod Fletcher, left for Herbert Smith Freehills in February last year as co-head of the corporate crime and investigations team (12 February 2013). The exit of the longstanding partner, who had been with the firm since 1985, meant control of the S&G group was handed to Jeremy Summers.

Ullah will join Eversheds as a partner on 1 May, taking on a national role in the fraud and investigations group but will be based in Manchester.

S&G confirmed it was in tie-up talks with Pannone in November following months of silence about the top-level discussions (11 November 2013).

Sources close to the firm have said that Pannone partners had their debts wiped by the deal and that those transferring to S&G would do so on a salaried basis. 

It is understood that the deal was on track to complete on Friday (14 February). Slater & Gordon declined to confirm a date for completion but said it was scheduled for February.