Firms buck trend with plans to boost private client work

THE DROPPED Lovell White Durrant private client team has been linked with two London firms amid claims that business is booming in the sector.

Holborn firm Collyer-Bristow and Lincoln's Inn-based Charles Russell are believed to be talking to the nine-strong Lovells private client department which the City firm has decided to drop. Lovells last week said its two-partner and seven-fee earner private client team was in talks with a “number” of other practices.

Neither firm will confirm its interest in the Lovells department, but both are bullish about the future of their own private client departments.

Their confident forecasts are seen in contrast to a marked decline in private client activity that has been experienced in the City over recent years.

David Long, a partner in the Charles Russell private client department, says about the firm: “There are a number of exciting things going on at the moment.”

He adds: “People seem to want to join us and we're very excited about that.”

The firm has, however, just lost one of its private client partners to its rivals in Holborn.

Paul Clark had been a partner with Charles Russell since 1988, but left to join Collyer-Bristow last month.

Senior partner Roger Woolf says that he is “very excited” about appointing the new recruit. He claims that his firm is well placed to pick up any discarded work which may come from the City.

“It seems that some firms cannot make it pay, but we are expanding and bringing in new clients,” he says.

Explaining his move to Collyer-Bristow, Clark says: “I wanted to either be part of a smaller firm which was dedicated to doing private client work or part of a much larger organisation.

“I think that Charles Russell was getting stuck somewhere in the middle.”