Four quit Hammonds on deadline day

Hammonds has been hit by four more partner exits as the partnership’s agreed date for equity partner resignations comes around.

In London the firm has lost commercial and IP partner Paul Harris and commercial dispute resolution partner Nic Mason.

In Manchester, Andrew Ashley Taylor has quit the firm’s pensions team, while in Berlin partner Jens-Uwe Hinder has left the tax team.

The four are believed to be negotiating their exit packages presently and would not comment on which firms they will go to next.

The resignations follow an agreement that equity partners only hand in their notice on two specific days of the year – 31 March or 30 September – unless they are retiring. The bond was introduced as part of a stabilisation plan that Hammonds initiated last year.

As well as the restricting the dates of future resignations, the plan included a package of reforms intended to improve management, including the appointment of Bain & Co management consultants’ managing director for Europe Crawford Gillies as non-executive chairman last year (The Lawyer, 2 October 2006) and Capgemini’s UK CEO Clive Williams as a non-executive director last week (The Lawyer, 29 March 2007).

In 2004 the firm also agreed a 14-month equity partner lock-in after a series of top-level departures. This was not renewed.

Today’s departures follow scarcely three months after fixed-share corporate partner Tom Cartwright quit for Taylor Wessing (The Lawyer, 29 January) and fixed share construction partner Julia Court went to SJ Berwin (8 January 2007).

In January, sports law equity partner Jonathan Taylor also left for Bird & Bird (The Lawyer, 29 January), six months after originally resigning at the end of the equity lock-in in June 2006.