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A group of 15 lawyers, including five partners, are defecting from leading Swedish firm Lagerlof & Leman to form a new commercial practice in Stockholm.
Partners Peder Hammarskiold, Bengt Karde, Thomas Lindqvist, Jacob Melander and Per Sundin are leaving to set up Hammarskiold & Co which starts operations on 1 January next year.
Melander, the spokesman for the departing lawyers, cited Lagerlof's membership of the Alliance of European Lawyers as the main reason for the departure: "We wanted to be free and independent of alliances. If you have an international practice, there are a number of firms in other countries you want to use other than the ones you are bound to use."
However, Lagerlof managing partner Ingvar Zander attributed the defection to the firm's restructuring in September, which was instigated partly to put the practice in line with other Alliance members.
This saw a shift from a lockstep to a performance-based system of remuneration and the creation of new internal practice groups. "Unfortunately, five partners have not accepted the changes," he said.
Zander added that although he expected some clients to move to the new firm, the impact would be minimal. "Most clients will stay with us because they want a large full-service firm," he said.
The departure does, however, mark a trend in the Swedish marketplace which has seen teams of lawyers split off as leading law firms have grown.
It is the second major loss of partners from Lagerlof in the last year. Seven partners left the Gothenburg office recently to set up a firm linked to KPMG.