Irwin Mitchell Sheffield boss linked with luring DLA Piper defectors
Irwin Mitchell’s hire of a team of senior equity partners from DLA Piper’s Manchester real estate practice had been trailed for months before it was confirmed last week. The Lawyer reported rumblings that partners were planning a move in October 2012.
Sources close to the group, which comprises Anita Weightman, Roy Beckett, Patrick Duffy and Tony Weightman, said at least some of the team had been disillusioned by DLA Piper co-CEO Sir Nigel Knowles’ investment in ABS LawVest, which caused a storm among the firm’s partnership in 2012. Some DLA Piper partners felt Knowles was encouraging his firm to send low-end work to a business he stood to profit from.
Either way, it didn’t take long to connect the hires with Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield-based regional managing partner – and former DLA Piper top brass – Paul Firth. Sources soon confirmed that Firth had been instrumental in bringing the team over.
Firth had been part of DLA Piper’s old guard, and was the firm’s regional managing partner until, in late 2008, top management decided it was time for a reshuffle and combined the UK regional managing partner job with the London managing partner one. Employment chief David Bradley got that position – he has since returned to fee-earning – and Firth was made a consultant. He remained a consultant until 2011, when DLA Piper is understood to have declined to renew his deal. He then joined Irwin Mitchell.
One can only speculate as to how much he is enjoying his new role.