Fladgate Fielder exodus grows

Fladgate Fielder is midway through an exodus of lawyers that will see a total of 14 fee earners, including seven partners, depart from the firm in a matter of months.

Last week The Lawyer reported that two partners, John Russell and John Bates, were leaving the firm's Basingstoke office to join Winchester firm White & Bowker, rather than relocate to a new London office.

It has since emerged that two more partners Philip Barth in the corporate department and Paul Holth in property and five assistants, are quitting the firm's London offices.

Together with earlier defections, the tally of departures from the 30-partner firm stands at 14 since the end of last year.

Fladgates has responded by acquiring two-partner West End property firm Kaufman Kramer Shebson and hiring a corporate partner from an unidentified US firm. The property department has also recruited three assistants from other firms and made them up to partners.

Barth said: “I am leaving because I want more ability to develop my business immigration practice.”

Holth, who was a salaried partner at Fladgates but will be joining Charles Russell as an assistant next month, was unavailable for comment.

Other sources said morale was low and partners were unhappy with the firm's management. They said there was discontent with the operation of its merit-based system of remuneration and the direction of its future strategy, including the planned closure of its Basingstoke office.

Fladgates declined to comment on the reasons for the departures, but it is understood the firm does not consider it to be a major blow.

Among the latest batch of assistants to depart are: Marcia Stephenson, who is going to Berwin Leighton; Ildiko Bita, who is moving to Fox Williams; and Liz Wilson, who has started at Osborne Clarke.