Stephenson Harwood loses three partners

Stephenson Harwood's top insolvency partner and two other partners are set to leave the firm.

Insolvency partner Geoff Woolf and banking partner Paul Diss are understood to be joining SJ Berwin.

Litigation partner Roger Brown is going to Herbert Smith.

They had all been at Stephenson Harwood for more than 20 years.

All three cite differences with management over the firm's restructuring as the reason for their decision.

Stephenson Harwood restructured its departments that were mainly based on legal specialisms rather than client areas so that the firm would have more of a corporate slant.

It now has five different specialist units within its corporate department.

John Pike, chief executive of Stephenson Harwood, says: “We shall be sorry to see Roger, Paul and Geoff leave. They have been at the firm for a very long time. Major change does sometimes cause strong disagreement.”

But he adds that the legal market is fluid at the moment, and is quick to point out that Stephenson Harwood “has attracted in the last year or so six new partners”.

The three most recent are John Higham QC, insolvency specialist Paul Gordon-Saker (The Lawyer, April 24) and shipping litigator Duncan McDonald.