Edge Ellison partner Andrew Batchelor is quitting the firm to go in-house with IT outsourcing company ITNET.
Batchelor will replace Andrew Williams as head of legal when he joins on 3 July in a move that may see new work for his current practice.
Batchelor told The Lawyer that Edge Ellison could well win work from his new company which employs local Birmingham rival Pinsent Curtis and Wragge & Co.
Edge Ellison says that it would be presumptuous to say that the firm will win ITNET as a client but that Batchelor is leaving on good terms.
Batchelor anticipates an increasing amount of joint venture and acquisition work for the company.
His role will mainly involve liaison and the work is predominantly contractual but he says that he plans to expand ITNET’s in-house team, anticipating a growth in joint venture and acquisition work.
On his reasons for leaving Edge Ellison Batchelor says: “This is not a knock on Edges but I don’t think law firms are addressing the issues of the future.
“I see a lot more legal work being done in-house. I was looking to the cutting edge IT sector for a good company, with a good track record which ITNET has.”
He adds: “I made a lifestyle assessment after getting married last year and I was not convinced I wanted to stay in private practice.”
ITNET is one of the UK’s leading outsourcing suppliers of combined information technology and business processes and counts Cadbury Schweppes among its clients.
It has a market capitalisation of £600m, and more than 2000 employees. In 1998 it increased its turnover by 29 per cent to £105.7m.
ITNET has just been advised by Wragges on its £5m five-year contract to provide IT services to the electronics group Marconi.
The deal also included the acquisition of £3.7m business assets from EASAMS, the IT services subsidiary of the Marconi Group.