Eversheds exodus in Leeds reshuffle

Eversheds' Leeds office has suffered a spate of departures from its ranks of senior litigators, who have left to join rival firms in Leeds.

Six solicitors, all said to be big billers, have left or handed in their notice at the firm.

Three of them have joined the Leeds office of Irwin Mitchell. James Love joined the firm last October to set up an intellectual property team. Malcolm Simpson, an assistant in Eversheds' commercial litigation department, left in November and employment lawyer Simon Coates followed in December, joining Irwin Mitchell as a commercial litigation partner. He is setting up the firm's employment team.

Coates said all three lawyers felt that joining Irwin Mitchell was an opportunity not to be missed.

Insolvency lawyer David Hinchcliffe joined Walker Morris as a partner last June, Peter Ranyard joins Pinsent Curtis as a senior corporate finance assistant in March and insurance lawyer Chris Coughlin joins Manchester firm Lace Mawer in April. He will be helping to set up a new Leeds office for the firm.

It is understood that some of the leavers were dissatisfied at not being promoted to partner, even though they claim to have been some of the Leeds firm's highest billers.

David Ansbro, managing partner at Eversheds Leeds, said: “We are regarded as the leading litigating practice in this part of the world and inevitably people make approaches to our staff.”

He added that the firm has just appointed five new partners: litigator Michael Clavell-Bate, employment lawyer Catherine Prest, property lawyer Stephen Ford, tax lawyer Deneze Hastings and property litigator Penny Belcher.