Jones Day is set to axe its private client practice following the departure of current head Jennet Davies.
Davies is set to join Withers in early September as a partner in its private client team, advising high-net-worth individuals on UK tax and estate planning.
Jones Day inherited the private client practice when it merged with Gouldens in 2003, although it has been under review for the past five years after it was felt that the firm could not compete with the increasing specialisation in the sector by firms such as Withers.
The catalyst came when Davies proposed an investment plan for the future of the private client practice that Jones Day did not think it could meet.
The firm is now in the process of winding down its private client practice subject to its commitments to existing clients.
Davies’s departure leaves Jones Day’s wealth management team without a Europe-based partner. The remaining seven partners are based in the US.
By comparison, Withers has built its firm around advising high-net-worth individuals. It now has 75 fee-earners in its private client team and is set to launch an office in Geneva in early autumn.
Davies’s practice covers all aspects of UK tax and estate planning for clients with interests in Continental Europe, particularly France and Italy.