Lincoln's Inn firm Maples Teesdale is facing the loss of its private client team to Lee & Pembertons
The private client department accounts for around a third of the 10-partner Maples Teesdale practice, making it a core area together with commercial property and construction. The Lawyer understands that partners Ian Lane, Joan Rees and Sally Wilkins are making the move to Victoria-based private client firm Lee & Pembertons, together with consultant Michael Lang and three legal executives. Maples Teesdale managing partner Andrew Whittaker said that he could not yet comment on details of the departures, but in a statement to The Lawyer, the firm said: "Maples Teesdale and Lee & Pembertons are not merging. It is contemplated that some members of Maples Teesdale may be joining Lee & Pembertons in the near future, all things being equal." It is understood that the remaining Maples Teesdale partners plan to remain independent and will drive the firm forward as a niche commercial property and construction firm. Clients include Royal & SunAlliance. Lee & Pembertons was also unable to comment on the move as The Lawyer went to press. This is the latest in a string of moves in the private client arena, with a number of commercial firms pulling out of the sector. Forsters' partner Fiona Smith, who was part of the former Masons' private client team, said: "We wanted to be somewhere where private client had a strong voice in the firm. That's often one of the reasons for moving."