Dibbs unrest spurs IT head into talks with Arnheims

Dibb Lupton Alsop's head of IT, David Barrett, is understood to be in talks to take his core IT team to another firm – believed to be Price Waterhouse's law firm Arnheim & Co.

As The Lawyer revealed last month, the firm's London office has already lost three partners, two associates and four assistants in the corporate department this year. Most of the London insolvency team defected to Linklaters last year.

There is understood to be tension at the London office, where lawyers have not been gaining big ticket international clients because of the firm's lack of international clout. Regional partners are thought to be reluctant to invest heavily in London or foreign offices.

Barrett defected to Dibb Lupton Broomhead in 1993 from Theodore Goddard, along with his assistant Alistair Maughan – now a partner – citing disagreements with management decisions.

Last February he helped persuade four Eversheds lawyers in Brussels to set up Dibbs' Brussels IT and media-led office. He was also talking to Paris lawyers about opening an office there by the summer, with aims for a German presence by December.

Meanwhile Dibbs managing partner Nigel Knowles has acknowledged that there has been speculation about his own future at Dibbs – he is rumoured to have been seeking to go to a Canadian or US firm with a corporate team.

He told The Lawyer: “I'm getting a bit bored with this. I am elected as managing partner for three years. I can't possibly leave. I'm not going.”

Knowles is holding a press briefing this Monday to talk about “plans for the firm's future”, which include the reorganisation of its London corporate team. Dibbs' total revenue for last year increased by only 10 per cent – while many City firms reported much larger revenue increases.

Barrett was unavailable for comment. Chris Arnheim, managing partner of Arnheim & Co, also refused to comment.