In an extraordinary move, Hammonds has suspended London finance head and equity partner Andrew Visintin from the partnership
Visintin has been on sick leave for several months and the firm's executive informed partners and staff that he had been suspended last week. Hammonds' partnership agreement is understood to give the executive the right to suspend a partner indefinitely in certain circumstances. The Hammonds partners contacted by The Lawyer would not be drawn into the circumstances surrounding Visintin's suspension. The firm has said that all of his clients will be handled by London business finance and recovery partners Lorinda Peasland and Mike Woollard. In a separate development, Hammonds commercial litigation partner Robert Scott is leaving to set up his own niche commercial litigation firm based in Holborn, called Scott Wilks. Hammonds senior assistants Andy Wilks, a commercial litigation lawyer, and Tim Francis, an insolvency specialist, will become partners at the new firm. The group joined Hammonds from now-defunct niche finance firm Wildes last summer, when the national firm took on the bulk of the smaller practice. The firm will start trading at the end of September, after Scott completes his three-month period of gardening leave. Hammonds has taken on 12 partners in the past financial year, but Scott is the sixteenth partner known to have left in the past 12 months. Scott said he was leaving because a significant number of his clients from Wildes have not followed him to Hammonds because they did not want to use a large City firm. Hammonds senior partner Richard Burns said he wished Scott well in his new venture.