Hammonds rocked by construction turmoil

Hammonds’ construction practice has been left reeling as one partner left last week and another partner was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

London construction partner Julia Court has resigned to join SJ Berwin. She is the latest in a stream of construction partners to have quit Hammonds in the past two years.

In March 2005 Hammonds’ construction team suffered its greatest loss when five partners decamped for Addleshaw Goddard‘s Leeds office.

Court’s departure leaves just one full-time construction partner, Rupert Cowen, in Hammonds’ London office.

However, sources within Hammonds have confirmed that Cowen has been suspended from duty following an altercation with former colleague Richard Cooke, who resigned last year to join Bechtel.

In a separate development, the firm’s commercial practice saw 11 fee-earners walk from its Brussels office. This follows the departures of several partners, including competition head José Rivas, who went to McDermott Will & Emery last year.

In the meantime Hammonds has made two emergency promotions. David O’Keeffe, who has been counsel on EU affairs with Hammonds since 1998, will now head the firm’s competition and EU practice in the UK. Meanwhile, Tom Pick, a specialist in EU and German competition law, is being promoted to become a partner in Brussels.

Hammonds declined to comment.