The exodus from Ashurst Morris Crisp's property department is continuing as five lawyers prepare to leave the firm.
Senior lawyer Stephen Law is leaving Ashursts to join his former colleague Peter Lloyd, head of property at US firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey, as a real estate attorney.
Helen Willett, also a senior lawyer in property, resigned last week and will join SJ Berwin, while senior lawyer Jonathan Rickard is moving to Theodore Goddard.
Property solicitor Elizabeth Hawkings is moving overseas. And it is also believed that property assistant Richard Guyatt is leaving, but he has refused to comment.
Last year the department was hit by a spate of departures including highly-rated Iain Gilbey, a planning assistant who left to join Shoosmiths (The Lawyer, 22 November).
Before the departures in November, three property assistants had already left the department.
Commenting on her decision to leave, Willett says that it has not been influenced by the other departures in the property department.
She says: “It was such a great opportunity and it seemed like a good move.”
Lloyd says: “Stephen is moving over to help us to service the real estate work in both London and Europe.”
David Albert, property partner at Ashursts, says: “Obviously we are sorry to lose anyone, especially good quality lawyers with good experience.”
But he says that the firm has added four lawyers to its property department this year, three of whom were internal promotions and one an external appointment.
Squire Sanders has picked up a number of lawyers from Ashursts, including telecoms partner James Nimmo and corporate lawyer Aboyami Akinjide.
It is also rumoured that the US firm is in talks with a number of other Ashursts lawyers from its banking, property and corporate departments.
Joseph Markoski, London-based managing partner of Squire Sander's European practice, refused to comment.
But Lloyd says: “It is no secret that the firm is aggressively recruiting.”