Coopers' barrister shies away from Tite & Lewis

A second senior Coopers & Lybrand lawyer has left the accountancy firm rather than joining its hived-off legal practice Tite & Lewis.

Barrister Jonathan Turner, who was head of intellectual property and IT at Coopers for two years, is to join barristers chambers 4 Field Court.

According to Turner, he failed to “reach a satisfactory agreement” with Tite & Lewis over his role in the new firm.

But this is disputed by Tite & Lewis, which claims it was never intended that Turner would join the firm.

His departure follows that of Tim Johnson, Coopers' head of employment, who left this spring to become a partner at Arnheim & Co.

Turner said he believed the new firm represented a scaling back of Coopers' ambitions to break into the legal services market.

“When I was taken on at the Coopers I was told it had very ambitious plans to develop one of the leading practices in the UK,” he said.

“Having asked the law firm for certain assurances which I was not given, I believe the plan is for Coopers to keep a presence in the legal market as a holding position in case multi-disciplinary partnerships take off.

“If MDPs don't take off, then it will become a place to refer cases to and nothing more substantial than that.”

Christopher Tite and Mark Lewis said they did not want to get embroiled in an argument about the firm's aims.

But they said that since the firm's launch in May all the Coopers' solicitors had joined the firm, which already had 29 fee earners.

They added that in the eight weeks since Tite & Lewis had been launched it had already recruited a number of new lawyers.

“When we are ready, we will tell you about that,” they said.