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Planning partner quits and may leave the law; construction left short by partner loss
Nabarro Nathanson is to lose a highly-rated planning partner and a construction partner who was hired just three years ago to bolster the practice. Planning specialist Garry Graves is leaving after 10 years as a partner. He is considering a number of options, including a move out of law following a short sabbatical. Graves said: "I've reached that mid-point in my career when it's probably natural to take stock and look ahead. "The profile of the work has changed over the years. The likely changes to the planning system which the Government has in mind are unlikely to produce additional work for planning lawyers. It is the lawyers who have been painted as the villains." Nabarros' planning heavyweights are Norna Hughes and David Hawkins, but Graves is a well-known lawyer in the sector. Graves' resignation coincides with that of Justin Ede's from Nabarros' construction department, which has been plagued by high partner turnover in recent years. Ede is leaving the firm after only three years. He joined in November 1998 after a stint as managing partner of Arthur Andersen's associated legal practice in Hong Kong. Ede was hired after head of construction Martin Bridgewater left for Norton Rose and partner Nick Downing left for Herbert Smith in 1997. He took on the business manager role previously carried out by Bridgewater and was also brought on board to strengthen the contentious practice. Since Ede arrived, construction partner Jonathan Rosshandler has also left for Speechly Bircham with a senior assistant, and partner Michael Mendleblat has moved to a non-fee-earning position at Simmons & Simmons. Contentious work will now be handled by construction partner Gerlando Butera. Ede's departure follows a recent restructuring, which incorporates the construction department within the firm's new projects group. But head of construction Roger Wakefield said: "I don't think his departure has anything to do with that. It has more to do with his own interests." Wakefield is not making any immediate arrangements to replace Ede, but expects to recruit at assistant level. "We're just taking stock as to what we need to do and working out which way the projects market is going to go," said Wakefield. Nabarros senior partner Simon Johnston said that the departures were not part of a general cutting back of the partnership.