Merricks eases financial problems by staggering staff salary payments

Merricks is staggering the payment of staff wages to deal with its ongoing cash flow problems.

The news comes as a six-fee-earner corporate team leaves the firm to join leading West End heavyweight Fladgate Fielder.

In August, The Lawyer revealed that the predominatly claimant personal injury firm Merricks was suffering cash flow problems. (The Lawyer, August 4). The firm is now paying staff on a system of reverse hierarchy.

Merricks chairman Anthony Sheppard, who confirmed the departure of the team, told The Lawyer that the pay scheme meant that the more junior people would be paid first. “It’s the best way of dealing with the situation,” he added.

Fladgates, meanwhile, is delighted with what chairman Paul Leese described as “a vibrant and youthful team”.

The six fee-earners, which include rated partners Sunil Sheth and Ella Leonard, continues Flad-gates’ strategy of bringing in younger people.

“Being a senior equity partner here is an important role, given that in a firm of our size there are only 13,” said Leese. “Clearly we’ve always got to have a careful eye on succession.”

Sheth joins as a junior equity partner, while Leonard is a mezzanine partner. The firm’s oldest partner, property development specialist Eamonn Cannon, will exit the firm at the end of the year.

The new group will broaden Fladgates’ international reach. Leonard spent four years in the Middle East with Fairmays prior to its takeover by Merricks, while Sheth is an Indian sub-continent and East African specialist.

Meanwhile, Merricks has hired Stephen Calderbank, the former senior partner of Colin Rayner & Co.