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Midlands-based firm Shoosmiths has lost partner David Bickford in a defection to London-based Fladgate Fielder.
Bickford, who will head Fladgate Fielder's employment practice, was previously head of employment at Shoosmiths' Solent office and was uncomfortable with some of the working practices at the firm. He criticised the "lack of strategic planning" at Shoosmiths, hinting at different agendas prevalent within the firm's various branches. Shoosmiths has replaced Bickford as head of the Solent employment team with an internal candidate. Mark Lang, an associate at that office, has already taken up the position. He is described by Nigel Haines, national head of Shoosmiths' commercial practice, as "exceptionally able at client relationships". Other than that, Haines chose not to comment on Bickford's departure, other than to wish him well in his future career. According to Bickford, his move to Fladgate Fielder will take him to an "incredibly focused firm", where he will get the chance to do "top-quality work for top-quality clients". He is the long-term replacement for Jessica Learmond-Criqui, the previous head of employment, who left for Altheimer & Gray in February in search of more international work. According to Fladgate Fielder's managing partner Paul Leese, Bickford will take on a significant strategic role in shaping the future of the employment practice. His appointment comes on the back of figures released by Fladgate Fielder this summer, which showed that the corporate department there had, for the first time, outperformed the historically strong property team. The employment practice will feed off work from the corporate team, but will also be expected to attract clients in its own right. Bickford also expects to take some clients with him from Shoosmiths.