Hammonds loses senior PI partner

Bond Pearce has poached a senior professional indemnity (PI) insurance partner from Hammond Suddards Edge's London office

Michael Lent joined Hammonds as a partner in the PI insurance team in September 1997. His departure means there are only two senior full-time PI insurance partners based in the London office – Michael Robin and Steven Reynolds. David Simon, the national head of commercial PI insurance, divides his time between Leeds and London.
One source told The Lawyer: “The PI insurance practice at Hammonds is much smaller than it was. There's a constant tension between what the insurance market is prepared to pay and what firms want to charge, and this can lead to retention problems with clients.”
Hammonds made three PI insurance assistants from the London office redundant at the beginning of the year. At the end of 2001, Pinsent Curtis Biddle made four PI insurance partners and 11 fee earners redundant from its London, Manchester and Leeds offices, which was blamed on the demise of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) work (The Lawyer, 17 December 2001).
But Simon dismissed talk that the department was in trouble. He said: “We have benefited from the demise of SIF as we used to do no work for solicitor firms and now we do, acting for firms with 10 partners upwards.”
He admitted that the tension over costs is something that affects all firms. “It's a permanent balancing act. The market likes to use big professional firms but there's usually a question over rates. We are unique in that we have long-established teams in Manchester and Leeds where the rates are lower so the clients can choose,” he said.
Simon said although the firm was not looking to replace Lent, two partners have been made up in his department and a Birmingham partner, Ian Welland, is moving to London.