H20 splits in two; IP team set to join accountancy-linked firm; media team yet to find new home
Media law boutique Henry Hepworth Organisation (H20) is to split into two, with the intellectual property (IP) team going to accountancy-tied law firm KLegal. The other two partners, who are in the media team, are in serious merger talks with several firms, including Halliwell Landau, Charles Russell and Schilling & Lom. IP partners Catrin Turner and Eddie Powell and their teams have been snapped up by the KPMG-tied firm, where they will almost double the size of KLegal's IP team. Stephen Cotrill, a senior associate with Olswang, will also join KLegal later this month to work on the patent side. According to KLegal founding partner and head of IP James Hodgson, the new recruits have been brought in to meet increased client demand. He said: "We're generating a lot of work and leads as a result of our multidisciplinary and industry sector 'go-to-market' approach." The IP team will carry over all their clients and work in progress. Major clients include Tesco, for which Turner is litigating against Levi Strauss on grey imports. Turner and Powell have been looking to move for some time and have been in negotiations with KLegal since the spring. According to Turner, the H20 disintegration was inevitable. She said: "This is just where the market is going. If you want to do interesting work, clients are now demanding an international reach, something a boutique just can't provide. They also want top-quality advice on tax and competition law. "We didn't want to go back into traditional private practice; we've both been there already." The pair looked at various London-based foreign firms and multidisciplinary practices, but plumped for an offer from KLegal's James Hodgson, who Turner has known for more than 10 years. According to Turner, the fact that KLegal has recently bagged former head of legal at BT Alan Whitfield for the technology practice was a major draw. The media team, including partners Jason McCue and Paul Fox, is still looking for a new home, or may even go it alone. Fox says: "I can confirm that four or five firms are interested in us. You can't be cavalier about approaches from larger firms. Defendant defamation work is a small market. The thing is, H20 is a good brand and we'd like it to go on."