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Morgan Cole has lost its highly-rated head of agriculture Christopher Findley to Westminster firm Bircham Dyson Bell.
Findley has left his role at Morgan Cole's Oxford office to join the 36-partner firm later this month. Bircham Dyson's executive committee chairman Nicholas Brown said that Findley would be bringing many of his clients with him from Morgan Cole. Findley has been hired to head the agricultural team within the firm's property department. Brown said: "We have a large private client team and we do have private clients with agricultural property. We're able to look after that sort of work, but Christopher gives us an added dimension. "He's an acknowledged expert in agricultural law. He has very close relationships with people in the NFU [National Farmers' Union] and other [agricultural] organisations. "Morgan Cole is no longer doing the work, and that's one of the reasons why he left. They don't have a real private client practice; they want to develop the corporate side." But Morgan Cole's senior partner John Cole says that the firm remains committed to the sector and will do agricultural work across the board, in property, general commercial and litigation. "What we've said is that the agricultural practice carried out by Christopher Findley is not central to our business strategy, not that we won't be doing agriculture," said Cole. "We do a lot of agricultural work throughout the firm and we'll continue to do so in the future. "Christopher Findley has a very close personal following, substantially in the farming community. It was mostly private client. What we lose with Christopher is his personal agricultural practice." Cole said that his firm's role as a panel firm for the NFU was "very much continuing". He declined to comment on whether or not Findley was asked to leave the firm.