Fox Williams raid hits Faegre’s London offering

Fox Williams has mounted a devastating raid on Faegre & Benson’s London office as the US firm struggles to maintain its transatlantic footing.

The firm, which launched its UK office via a merger with Hobson & Audley in 2003, has this year seen four of its 12 London partners quit, including the departure of founding partner Max Audley for Olswang last month.

Departing real estate chief Simon Smith said: “I wanted more of a collegiate atmosphere. Fox Williams has strong practices which the real estate team can draw on, which gives a good springboard for my practice. At Faegre we had to generate our own work in isolation.” Smith takes with him special counsel Elizabeth Ruff, who joins as a partner, as well as two property associates. Corporate partner Paul Taylor has also moved to Fox Williams, while corporate finance partner Edward Hoare has jumped ship to Charles Russell.

Gerald Hobson, Faegre’s London executive partner, said the firm’s new London strategy of increasing international and cross-border work did not fit with the departing partners.

“For most partners this shift will energise their practices and help them move deeper into the areas they are most keen to develop,” said Hobson. “For others, however, the new direction does not chime with their own personal ambitions.”