DAC faces legal battle from ex-division head

Davies Arnold Cooper’s former head of common law is poised to take legal action against the firm for breach of contract as the lawyer exodus continues.

Malcolm Henke is understood to be on the verge of consulting counsel after DAC allegedly breached its contract by replacing him during a three-month notice period.

Henke, head of the motor unit Simon Curtis, and senior team leader David Pipkin resigned on 10 April to join Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

The following day partner John Smith took over responsibility for the department from Henke and Curtis.

But a source says: “According to standard employment law this is deemed as constructive dismissal. A person cannot be replaced on the grounds that they have resigned.”

It is unclear if Curtis is considering taking the matter further. But a source says that both he and Henke sought informal advice on the matter before they left the office on 17 April.

Pipkin is understood to be serving his notice period at DAC’s common law department which is continuing to lose staff.

Department team leader Adrian Cotton, Henke’s assistant Stephen Howcroft, Curtis’ assistant Scott Taylor, and Pipkin’s assistant Helen Greenwood are also leaving to join Barlow Lyde.

Cotton and Howcroft declined to comment on the reasons for their departure.

Greenwood and Taylor were unavailable for comment.

DAC refused to comment.