Masons and Barlows are latest to lose IT directors

Elizabeth Davidson reports

City firms Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Masons are both losing their IT directors as the flurry of poachings which first hit the IT legal sector in September continues unabated.

The moves will see Barlows' head of information technology, John Rowland, become IT director at Titmuss Sainer Dechert.

Masons' IT director, Martin Telfer, will take up the post of executive director at Malleson Stephens Jacques in Sydney, Australia.

Rowland is to head a team of 12 technical staff at Titmuss, which he joins on 1 December.

One of his major tasks will be to manage the installation of a new practice management system, which has already been chosen by the firm. Rowland said that Titmuss had a "well-set IT path".

When Telfer joins Mallesons on 22 December he will head a team of 60 technical staff and be responsible for both information and technology.

These are separate departments at Masons and most UK law firms, but, according to Telfer: "It makes sense to integrate the library information system with the technology department, as the future is in on-line information and Internet services."

He added that his work would mainly involve determining the direction of Mallesons' IT strategy, because the firm had recently completed a "big update" of its IT infrastructure.

Telfer said he had not considered emigration until he was contacted in July by an executive search agency – just after he had "very satisfactorily" renegotiated his contract with Masons.

The defections of Rowland and Telfer are the latest in a rash of moves in the IT sector which is having a snowball effect.

Titmuss recruited Rowland after losing its IT director, Kris Grabarczyk, to Ashursts Morris Crisp, while Barlows is understood to be close to reaching a decision on Rowland's replacement.

Masons will also have to appoint a new head of IT, but has given UK managing partner Peter Wood special responsibility for overseeing the IT department. In the meantime, the four managers in the firm's IT team will jointly run the department.

They include Carol Wilcox who is to supervise the implementation of the Keystone practice management system, due to go live next August.

Other recent moves have seen Allen & Overy's IT director, John Rogers, move to Herbert Smith, replacing Lindsay Dean, who is now IT director at Nabarro Nathanson.

Cameron McKenna is still looking for a replacement for its former IT director, Ed Dean, who left to join Lovell White Durrant in September.

Longbridge Consultancy IT managing consultant Craig Coverman described the current job market as a "merry go-round".

He added: "There is no shortage of good IT directors, but it is a question of finding them."