DAC common law trio quits for Barlow Lyde

Davies Arnold Cooper is facing another spate of departures – this time from its common law department.

Head of common law Malcolm Henke, motor unit head Simon Curtis and the department's senior team leader David Pipkin are all leaving the firm to join Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

Henke, who is not a qualified lawyer but is classed as a managing clerk, has been with the firm for over 10 years, specialising in personal injury, including motor insurance and employer liability and public liability advice.

Sources says that Henke's departure is a major blow to the firm after it lost a four-strong litigation team led by highly-rated employer liability and public liability specialist Tania Sless to Beachcroft Wansbroughs last June.

One lawyer says: “He is a good guy. If you didn't know he wasn't a lawyer you would not guess otherwise.”

Henke confirms that he, Curtis and Pipkin are leaving the firm but declined to comment on the reasons why.

It is understood that partner John Smith has already taken over Henke's position as head of the common law department. However DAC has refused to comment on this.

It is not yet clear what role Henke will take at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert but one source says that he is surprised that the firm appears to be taking on a motor capability which is seen as high volume, low cost work.

He says: “I knew that they had to spread the practice out but it is not classic Barlows work. Maybe they are going downmarket.”

This year alone, DAC has lost a number of lawyers including its head of banking Chris Sykes, partner John Hayward and two assistants, who left to join Osborne Clarke (The Lawyer, 27 January).

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert declined to comment.