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Keoghs has lost its only commercial property partner - who claims to have taken most of the firm's freestanding commercial property clients with him.
David Johnson, former head of property at the firm, has moved to six-partner Bolton firm Kippax Beaumont Lewis. Keoghs claims that only 20 per cent of the clients have moved with Johnson and that it wants to triple its activity in the commercial property market, although it is not clear whether Johnson will be replaced with another partner. Whatever the truth behind the percentage of clients moving, Johnson has brought a significant following to Kippax, including the commercial property work from Axa Insurance. When asked if he had brought the entire freestanding commercial property client base with him, Johnson replied: "Yes. The clients relied on me for 100 per cent of the work. You build up a relationship. Yes, I have taken 100 per cent of the commercial property clients." But according to Keoghs commercial managing partner Alan Robins, this is not the case. "About 20 per cent of the commercial property clients have moved with David," he said. "Any jobs he was in the process of doing have gone with him. The clients with ongoing matters will come back to Keoghs." What is clear is that Keoghs does not have a partner in charge of commercial property at the moment. Robins is not sure he will appoint a partner to take over the department. "We're not sure it will replace David with a partner. It could be an assistant or a partner designate," he said.