Norton Rose offloads its private client operation

Norton Rose's private client practice is set to move as a going concern to private client specialist Charles Russell.

Partners Michael Macfadyen and Hugh Jackson will be joined by the entire team of 12 assistants and secretaries in the move which has been described as a “good news story” by both sides.

Macfadyen, 53, who has been with Norton Rose for 35 years, said the move, which will take place next month, is in the best interests of his staff and clients.

“The focus at Norton Rose is very much big-ticket, international corporate work and the private client practice was like a small business within a big business, whereas at Charles Russell we have an ideal fit.”

He said that once the course of action was decided, he was a “prime mover” in its implementation. “There were approaches from other firms,” he said, “but Charles Russell seemed best for the long-term future of this practice.”

David Long, deputy senior partner at Charles Russell, said he was pleased by the prospect of the team's arrival.

“We are very excited because it will consolidate our strong private client department. Our policy is to maintain the roots and tradition of strong private client work.

“I understand, however, why some City law firms lose interest in private client work; sometimes you need a critical mass in a department, which we have here, to make it work.”

Murray Hallam, a private client partner at Withers, which took on the private client departments of Slaughter and May and Lovell White Durrant, said that the move was good for Charles Russell because Macfadyen was a well-respected figure in the field, and his practice was relatively small for Norton Rose.

Tony Kay, senior partner at Norton Rose, said he would be keeping close links with Charles Russell.

“We want to be able to direct the traffic of corporate clients who need private client work to a team we know we can trust.”