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Nabarro Nathanson is dropping its private client department, which Farrer & Co has picked up.
Nabarros will lose the head of the private client team Jim Edmondson, partner Caroline Kirby, senior solicitor Helen Bryant and two secretaries at the end of August. Edmondson joined Nabarros through the 1995 merger with Turner Kenneth Brown, when the private client department of the former was stronger. He said: "Things change. Private client work is no longer a core part of Nabarros' practice. I had the opportunity to move the group to a more mainstream private client practice and decided to take it." The move creates a referral relationship between the firms that will see the team continuing to do Nabarros' private client work from Farrers. Head of private client at Farrers, Richard Powles, moved from Rowe & Maw in 1999. "We have a similar [referral] arrangement with Rowe & Maw that works very well, and we'll do the same again," he said. "This move is a good way to strengthen our private client base." Edmondson said: "Nabarros has always had quite a good relationship with Farrers and that can continue. Unusually for this type of move, both sides can win. The reason for dropping private client work is not because it doesn't bring in enough money - Nabarros is becoming a big corporate-style firm and therefore is not ideally suited to maintaining a private client practice." Simon Johnston, senior partner at Nabarros, wished the departing team luck. "Jim, Caroline and Helen will continue to work with Nabarro Nathanson on future private client matters and there will be a reciprocal arrangement for appropriate related work to be referred to Nabarro Nathanson. We think this move is a good strategic fit for both firms and we look forward to a successful relationship," he said. Edmondson added: "I'll be able to develop the practice more readily at Farrers. Recruiting private client lawyers wasn't easy at Nabarros, but shouldn't be a problem at Farrers." This latest coup for Farrers follows its recent takeover of niche media firm Crockers Oswald Hickson (The Lawyer, 14 May). That merger created a 52-partner firm which was effective from the beginning of the month. Crockers lost its private client partner Alan Macfadyen at that time. Macfadyen moved to Salisbury-based Wilsons, taking his private client base with him.