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Hammonds and its former partners finally go into battle in a £3m profit dispute at their first case management conference on Friday 18 January.
One source close to the case said negotiations had hit a brick wall. "The majority of the parties are at loggerheads," said the insider. "This is odds-on to go all the way to trial."
However, sources within the Hammonds camp claim that some of the former partners are close to settling .
Peter Crossley, Hammonds managing partner, declined to comment on any deals, but confirmed that the conference will be taking place this week.
"It will lay the groundwork for how the case is going to be dealt with," said Crossley. "We don't, however, expect the trial to start for several months."
This case, listed in The Lawyer's top trials for 2008 (see page 16), arose after Hammonds issued proceedings against 14 former partners, claiming they owe the firm money for overdrawings on anticipated profit over the 2003-04 and 2004-05 financial years.