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In a blow to Dechert, highly-rated corporate insurance partner David Whear has quit for Norton Rose.
Senior associate Ashley Prebble will also move across to Norton Rose, leaving Dechert's London office depleted in this area.
Whear's practice was built on the back of strong foundations laid by former partner Michael Smith in the late 1980s.
Dechert's corporate and regulatory insurance practice became increasingly centred on Whear following the departures of Andrew Holdness to Clyde & Co several years ago and, more recently, Robin Williams to insurance broker Prentis Donegan & Partners.
Dechert corporate partner James Lewis has also carried out a number of major transactions for insurance companies, but is less focused on the sector than Whear.
London managing partner Steven Fogel told The Lawyer that Dechert would continue to service the needs of clients from the insurance sector, but said it was unlikely to seek immediate replacements for Whear and Prebble.
Whear will be a major boost to Norton Rose's Lloyd's practice, as well as bringing wider experience from his work for clients such as Dukes Place.
His move is confirmation that Norton Rose's corporate and regulatory insurance practice is in the ascendancy.