Hammonds debt collection spin-off Drydens bought by ex-DLA partner

The partners of Hammonds’ debt collection spin-off Drydens have sold the business months after another Hammonds spin-off, Hammonds Direct, went into administration.

Drydens has been bought for an undisclosed sum by lawyer and licensed insolvency practitioner Philip Holden.

Holden is a former Dibb Lupton Broomhead (now DLA Piper) partner who in 2002 set up niche corporate recovery practice LCL with former Hammonds partners Jeremy Bennett, Duncan Haymes and Tim Pope. Bennett, a former Hammonds insolvency head, bought the other three partners out of the Leeds office in 2004, renaming the business JB Law Solicitors (6 December 2004). The business’ Manchester office ws bought out by Halliwells in the same year (9 August 2004).

Holden said: “Drydens has an excellent reputation for delivering quality professional services and that’s something that particularly attracted me to the business.

“It has a blue chip client base, a robust operating structure, a talented and committed management team and significant growth potential.”

Drydens, which is based in Bradford, was set up in 1984 as a unit of Hammonds. It was spun off from the law firm in 2003, but was owned by a group of former and continuing Hammonds partners.

The set-up was similar to that of Hammonds Direct, the volume conveyancing business that spun-off from Hammonds in 2001. Following the spin off Hammonds Direct was owned by around 40 former and continuing Hammonds partners.

Hammonds Support Services, the trading name of Hammonds Direct, went into administration earlier this year (19 January 2009).

The partners of Hammonds Direct have since become embroiled in legal action with one of their number, Reed Smith partner Stephen York, who refused to contribute to a cash call made to cover future liabilities (11 May 2009).

Hammonds partnership, several members of which are still partners in Hammonds Direct, has also threatened the volume business with possible legal action regarding the lease on a building it sublet from the law firm (1 June 2009).

Holden left his position at Dibb Lupton Broomhead in 1994 to become head of financial recovery at Lloyd’s of London, where he remained until 2001.

After LCL was sold to Bennett, Holden served as the company’s chief executive until 2008.

Holden said he plans to expand Drydens’ brand in the debt recovery and debt recovery litigation fields.