Pinsents is saying goodbye to three partners and four assistants, originally from its 2001 London merger partner Biddle, following strategy and performance reviews.
Pinsents has decided to abandon the defamation market, historically a jewel in the Biddle crown, so its media team, comprising respected partner David Hooper and four assistants, is moving to Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.
Two legacy Biddle salaried partners are also leaving from the corporate department, after being told by Pinsents’ management that they were not going to become equity partners.
Hooper is one of London’s best-regarded defamation lawyers, with a case list stretching from Spycatcher to Andy McNab’s breach of confidence claim brought by the Ministry of Defence.
A Pinsents source said: “We want to act for corporates and, after a chosen markets review, we decided that defamation doesn’t fit. The rates of recovery are low, and clients expect to pay West End rather than City rates.”
The Lawyer understands that Pinsents’ average hourly rate for a partner is £375, while defamation work typically commands less than £300.
The source said that Pinsents expects Bloomsbury, the publishers of the money-spinning Harry Potter series and a former trophy client of Biddle, to follow Hooper and his team to Reynolds Porter.
Meanwhile, Pinsents is continuing to hire in its chosen markets, with the appointment of Stephenson Harwood head of employment Tom Flanagan as London employment head.
The firm’s six chosen markets are financial services and insurance, Government, manufacturing, real estate, services and technology.
Last week, Pinsents also announced the hire of James Love, head of intellectual property (IP) at Irwin Mitchell, as its new national head of IP following the departure of Stephen Chandler to a client.