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North West firm Keoghs is ditching its company and commercial department after its head of corporate quit for Manchester rival Nexus Solicitors less than 18 months after arriving at the firm.
Partner Melanie Yeomans will shortly join Nexus, becoming its sixth partner. She joined Keoghs in January 2005 from Clifford Chance's Paris office in order to return to her home region in the North West.
Her appointment was heralded as a chance for the firm to build up its corporate finance capacity.
Associate Tim Saunders is also leaving Keoghs for North West firm Tilly Bailey & Irvine, where he will become head of commercial.
In response, Keoghs launched a review of the department, leading to a decision to dispose of its company and commercial law-yers in order to develop its insurance litigation practice.
The firm said in a statement that the team "is inconsistent with our vision of where the firm needs to move over the next few years".
The company and commercial department brings in around £500,000 a year for Keoghs, or 3 per cent of the firm's £17.5m turnover, and employs 11 lawyers and staff, including partners Richard Dawson-Gerrard and Richard Drinkwater.
Keoghs said it would endeavour to help the affected staff find jobs in other law firms and that it will be liaising with clients so that work in progress is not affected.