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Leeds firm Read Hind Stewart has lost one of its most senior partners Andrew Laycock to Leeds and Hull firm Garwood Devine.
He will be replaced by Halliwell Landau Manchester insolvency partner Oliver Nelson. Laycock was a partner at Read Hind for about a decade. At the time he left he was one of the three partners on the management board. Unusually, he was also a partner in a separate insolvency firm, Carrick Read, which was set up in 1980. Chris Garwood and Francesca Devine, the two name partners at Garwoods, are also partners in Carrick Read. All three are licensed insolvency practitioners. Laycock refused to comment on whether Read Hind and Carrick Read had any profit-sharing relationship. But he did admit that the two firms were associated. "Read Hind never officially had an insolvency practice," he said. "All the insolvency work done there was done at Carrick Read." Following Laycock's departure, Read Hind is planning to set up its own dedicated insolvency practice. Oliver Nelson will head up the new department, which he is hoping will expand quickly. "Now that Read Hind Stewart has severed its links with Carrick Read, it will be my job to build up the firm's insolvency practice," said Nelson.
"I light of recent editions to the team - particularly Gavin Jones and David Grant - we have no immediate plans to replace Oliver" Andrew Buchanan, Halliwell Landau
According to Halliwells, it is unlikely that Nelson will be replaced. Head of insolvency at the firm Andrew Buchanan said: "In light of recent additions to the team - particularly Gavin Jones from Matthew Arnold & Baldwin and David Grant from Ralph Hume Garry, both at partner level - we have no immediate plans to replace Oliver." Nelson said: "I think Halliwells would only choose to replace me with a lateral hire if the partner in question had a good client following." Nelson is the second partner loss to hit Halliwells' insolvency department in the last nine months. In November 2000, Andrew Livesey, who headed the group, left to join North West firm Taylors (The Lawyer, 12 November 2000).