Pinsents and DWF pick off DLA Piper partners

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DLA Piper commercial litigation partners Damian Crosse and James Haddleton have left the firm.

Crosse, the firm’s Leeds head of commercial litigation, quit DLA Piper this month and is set to join Pinsent Masons.

Haddleton left the firm’s Leeds office on Friday (25 January) to join the local branch of North West insurance specialist DWF. Haddleton said: “In Leeds, DWF is already turning heads and becoming the natural alternative to the six largest firms in the city.”

Crosse and Haddleton are the latest in a series of partners to leave DLA Piper’s regional offices recently.

DLA Piper chief executive Nigel Knowles said: “We’ve made up a record number of partners. We continue to attract and admit quality laterals. Any suggestion that there’s a mass exodus from DLA Piper is fantasy.”

As reported by The Lawyer (14 January), Halliwells hired former Sheffield head of corporate Neil Thompson as part of an ongoing assault on its larger rival, which has included partners Beverley Bentley, Jonathan Brown, Richard Capper, Colin Gibbons, Paul Jefferson, Fiona Parry and Craig Scott in recent months.

Former head of property litigation at DLA Piper’s Liverpool office Kevin Lee also moved to Halliwells towards the end of last year.

Crosse’s hire marks the second recent raid on the firm by Pinsents. The firm made four appointments in December to ramp up its global projects and UK project finance groups.

Meanwhile, DLA Piper’s Scottish office has raided two rivals to secure two partners. Associates Keith Dinsmore and Scott Thiel joined from Dickson Minto and Dundas & Wilson respectively and have stepped up to partner level.

Dinsmore will join DLA Piper’s corporate group, while Thiel has joined the technology, media and commercial department.