N&P legal office broken up

THE SIX-strong legal department of National Provincial Building Society is being broken up in the run up to its takeover by Abbey National.

Last week, Eversheds announced it had recruited former head of the N&P department Tony Gartland as a salaried partner to its Leeds office.

But Abbey National, which takes over N&P next month, has refused to comment on the future of the remaining N&P lawyers and legal executives.

So far just two members of the department will definitely join Abbey National.

They are John Thurwell, current manager of legal operations at N&P, and legal executive Dawn Adshead.

The status of the other three members of the department was described by one insider as in a “state of flux”.

An Abbey National spokes-man said the company had tried to preserve as many jobs as possible. But he added that where there was duplication of work, such as in the legal departments, efforts had been made to relocate or retrain N&P staff for other jobs in Abbey National.

Meanwhile, Eversheds is celebrating its recruitment of Gartland, who managed the sale of N&P to Abbey National, a deal finalised in this spring.

Gartland will join the building society and banking teams of Eversheds in August.

Leeds office managing partner David Ansbro described Gartland's appointment as a real coup for the firm.

“His first-hand experience of the N&P sale will be invaluable in bringing greater resources to an already strong area of our practice,” he said.