Hextall Erskine profits lead to exits

Insurance practice Hextall Erskine has lost four partners as sources close to the firm claim that its profitability is faltering.

The head of insurance and reinsurance Bill Jarvis has joined niche City practice Elborne Mitchell. His move follows the departure of leading professional indemnity lawyer Stuart White and fellow partner Davina Haydon, who both left Hextalls last Friday (30 March) to join Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. Alternative dispute resolution partner Anna Dalglish also left the firm on the same day, although she is believed to be leaving law.

Hextalls senior partner John Bundy says the four departures are unrelated. “There's no link; they've all left for separate reasons,” he says.

But a source close to Hextalls claims that the income of the firm is an issue. He says that profits have declined significantly over the last couple of years and says this is the reason for the departures. He says: “Hextalls isn't a forward-looking firm. It needs to be taking on more heavyweight cases if it wants to make money.”

It is believed that a fifth partner is leaving the firm, although it is still unknown where he is going. Hextalls will be left with 17 partners.

Bundy says: “There's an element of truth in the allegations, but any declining profitability is because of overpartnering and underperforming, but this has now been rectified.”

However, he says that the partners were not pushed out and he does not rule out the possibility of recruiting to fill the gaps.

Jarvis, who specialises in non-marine liability issues, joined Elborne Mitchell as a partner last Monday. He took two assistants with him.

Jarvis advises underwriters in both the UK and the US in product and public liability claims, including fire, energy, pollution, property and business interruption.