Hammonds' employment head quits for Norton Rose

Hammond Suddards has been hit by the departure of its national head of employment and another leading employment partner.

Tim Russell – overall head of employment at the firm – is joining City firm Norton Rose in March as head of employment, while Chris Southam is going to Osborne Clarke.

Russell joined Hammonds from Lloyds Bank in 1991 to set up an employment department, and subsequently built up a 24 lawyer-strong team.

He is Norton Rose's second major lateral hire for its human resources department this year, following the recruitment of Paisner & Co's employee share schemes partner David Cohen in July.

Russell, who had “mixed feelings” about leaving, said: “My mandate is to put Norton Rose on the map in employment law.”

Sue Nickson, a highly-rated partner in Hammonds' Manchester office, has already replaced Russell as national head of employment.

Hammonds' senior partner, John Heller, said the firm was “sorry to see Tim leave”.

Norton Rose managing partner Roger Birkby said: “Tim's drive and enthusiasm is well-known. His arrival will further strengthen our employment practice.”

Southam is leaving Hammonds only nine months after joining from Bristol firm Veale Wasbrough, where he had established a reputation as the leading employment lawyer in the South West.

Southam was unavailable for comment, but The Lawyer understands that he will eventually be moving back to Bristol.