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Halliwell Landau has scooped North West firm Weightmans' entire retail and leisure boutique.
The boutique was set up in the firm's Manchester office less than a year ago. Managing partner and head of employment of Weightmans' Manchester office Michael Ball, head of property David Morgan and commercial property partner Rod Waldie will join Halliwells in August. Both Ball and Morgan are long-serving Weightmans partners - Ball has been with Weightmans for 22 years and Morgan for 25 years. Weightmans transferred Ball, Morgan and Waldie to the Manchester office in November 2000 with the aim of setting up a dedicated leisure and retail practice. It is unclear whether Weightmans will continue to have a leisure and retail capability. Halliwells managing partner Paul Thomas said: "I don't think there will be." The retail and leisure practice encompasses the firm's commercial property and employment teams. Head of Halliwells' commercial property department Mike Edge said: "Between employment and commercial property we've the whole Weightmans leisure and retail practice." Weightmans was unavailable for comment. The entire Weightmans Manchester commercial property team, comprising partners Morgan and Waldie, two assistants and support staff, will join Halliwells' commercial property department. Edge said that the Weightmans partners will take all of their clients to Halliwells. Halliwells' commercial property group already acts for Focus DIY, Aldi, Kwik-Fit and Swinton Insurance. The group is currently advising on the redevelopment of Croydon town centre. Edge said: "I do not know what Weightmans has done to lose its Manchester commercial property team. My personal opinion would be that as an insurance firm, Weightmans hasn't shown the same commitment to commercial property that we are able to at Halliwells." Michael Ball will join Halliwells' employment team as a senior partner and four solicitors from Weightmans' employment team in Manchester are following him. Halliwells head of employment Stephen Hills will continue to manage the team.