Wragges establishes permanent London employment practice

Wragge & Co has launched a permanent employment team in London following a six-month trial in the City and is aiming to carve out a top five position for the team by 2005.
The firm plans to build the team in London to 12 lawyers, led by partners Patrick Brodie and Andrew Hodge. In the meantime, Brodie and Hodge will be supported by three other fee-earners and an HR consultant, but Wragges is looking to bring in another partner and two fee-earners immediately.
Senior partner Quentin Poole is sticking to the usual line that the firm does not plan to go full service in the
City. “Employment has demonstrated that [London] can work for them,” he added. The London office is currently home to intellectual property, real estate and private equity teams.
During its trial period, the team has won new instructions from clients such as international energy trading company Entergy-Koch Trading, SABIC EuroPetrochemicals and Peregrine Systems.
In a separate development, Wragges has spun off its motor claims practice, which will join Midlands law firm Harvey Ingram Owston. The high-volume practice was deemed to be incompatible with Wragges’ corporate focus.
The 16-lawyer motor claims team is headed by Wragges senior associate Paul Davies, who will become a partner at Harvey Ingram. The practice handled small motor damage claims for insurance companies and corporate fleets and some of the personal injury work fed into the litigation department.
Poole said: “If you look at the history of Wragge & Co, we weren’t cast in bronze in the Bronze Age like Slaughter and May, we’ve developed. Inevitably, we’ve had practice areas that no longer fit with our corporate focus, and the motor claims team is one of those.”
The firm follows in the footsteps of Hammonds, which spun off its high-volume conveyancing and mortgage practice Hammonds Direct. DLA and Eversheds have also hived off their high-volume residential property arms.
Full-service, Leicester-based Harvey Ingram will open a second Midlands office to house the motor claims team, allowing it to remain based in Birmingham.