Hammonds is considering asking partners to commit to an informal 14-month lock-in in an attempt to stem the tide of departures from the firm.
The Lawyer understands that the move is under discussion following a recent wave of departures from the firm. A total of 12 partners have announced their resignations since 1 January this year.
As first revealed by The Lawyer (2 March), last week it emerged that a five-partner construction team, including department head Simon Palmer, is quitting Hammonds for Addleshaw Goddard in Leeds (see page 4).
A more formal lock-in would necessitate the agreement of the firm's partnership board. The board was formed in December 2004 and consists of managing partner Peter Crossley and senior partner Richard Burns, together with partners Patrick Somers and Bernhard Gilbey, Brussels head Konstantinos Adamantopoulos and German partner Frank Walter-von Gierke.
The length of the commitment is in line with the firm's turnaround strategy following the news in early February that reorganisation costs and a hit from a fee write-off would result in a profit drop of up to 25 per cent.
As part of the restructuring, Hammonds announced last week that it would make 60 staff and fee-earners redundant.
A Hammonds spokesman said: "We are not prepared to comment on your information."