`Ian Meredith left the national firm at the end of November and was put on six months gardening leave. He resigned from the firm with a view to joining a US firm in London and has chosen Steptoe.`He will be the firm’s third litigation partner in London. He said that the area is central to the European expansion plans.`His clients at Hammonds included Gencor Industries and the Royal Bank of Scotland. He confirmed that clients will move with him to the new firm.`Meredith said: “I was keen to join a firm which would be able to develop in a way that I felt was sustainable. I chose Steptoe because of the high hopes they have of what they will be in London.”`The firm plans to focus its litigation capability on three main areas – insurance and reinsurance, commercial disputes and regulatory work.