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Howard Kennedy head of family Ursula Danagher has quit the firm, with the move sparking a row over what she sees as the firm’s lack of transparency.
Danagher will join Memery Crystal along with partner Lindsey Alexander today (22 November) with a remit to build a strong family practice.
“I’m moving to a more consultative firm where there’s more transparency and more partner involvement in the business,” Danagher said. “It’s a shame not to make the most of partner talent within the firm.
“Memery Crystal has a commercial attitude towards services for individuals. We’re keen to work with corporate clients who are looking for these services.”
Howard Kennedy senior partner Trevor Newey dismissed her comments about the firm’s lack of transparency, stating: “We’re talking and communicating all the time within the firm. It’s disappointing that she’s taken this view. We’ve brought in two assistants and held events to promote the family group.”
Danagher and Alexander joined Howard Kennedy from Goodman Derrick in May 2008. Danagher claimed that since joining the firm there had not been a single partnership meeting.
Newey conceded that the firm does not hold “formal away days”, but added: “In terms of interaction, we’ve had marketing meetings so we could cross-fertilise practices.”
Howard Kennedy is in talks to appoint a new family chief, who is expected to join the firm in January.
Danagher said there were “no limits” on how big Memery Crystal could grow its family team, adding that she would begin to recruit in the New Year.