Hammonds looks set to lose its entire commercial insurance practice of around 35 lawyers. The Lawyer has discovered that eight partners of Hammonds' commercial insurance team are holding talks with senior partner Richard Burns and managing partner Chris Jones about setting up an independent niche insurance practice. The team had the opportunity to leave Hammonds when the firm floated its high-volume personal injury business Praxis three years ago but at the time decided against a move. However, they have now decided that it may be time to go it alone. Jones told The Lawyer: "About five or six weeks ago the commercial insurance partners approached Richard Burns and myself about the possibility of doing a Praxis. In principle, we don't have a problem with that." The discussions are amicable, said Jones, and are at an early stage. He said that he would be happy if the team or any of the lawyers were to stay with the firm and added that no jobs would be lost as a result. The team is led by David Simon in Leeds, Michael Robin and Ian Welland in London, and Brian McKendry in Manchester. The Lawyer understands that the team plans to have offices in each of these locations.