#Former Hammonds senior partner Richard Burns has died at the age of 49. He had been battling illness for several months before his death on Monday 20 May. Hammonds managing partner Peter Crossley said in a statement: "We were devastated by Richard's sudden and tragic death. Richard was a great lawyer with hugeintellect, vision and unwavering commitment to the firm." Burns joined the firm in 1981 as an articled clerk, becoming a partner after five years. He became a well-known figure in the Leeds legal market, specialising in M&A, flotations and raising equity-based finance. He took over as Hammonds' senior partner in 2000, overseeing a difficult period that included a merger with Edge Ellison. The firm reorganised and made redundancies as profits slumped before Burns stood down in August 2005. He returned to practice and was active up until his death, most recently advising US-based Illinois Tool Works on the £1bn takeover battle for kitchen equipment maker Enodis.