Orchard's IT practice blossoms

EX-Freshfields partner Paul Taylor is to head a new information technology and intellectual property department at expanding City firm Orchard.

Taylor joined the firm on 3 November after four months “unofficial” gardening leave from Freshfields where he was a founder member of its IT/IP practice.

And The Lawyer understands Orchard is gearing up to hire between 8 and 10 assistants over the next few months. It is understood that it is already negotiating with two solicitors, and is looking for more partners, all in the IT/IP department.

It is believed that some of the assistants will be recruited from Freshfields.

Taylor said he left Freshfields because he wanted to do “stand-alone” IT/IP work that was not linked to a merger or acquisition. He added: “The number of clients that Orchard shares with Freshfields will make the transition easier.”

Part of Taylor's ambit is to develop Orchard's international practice. The firm previously did non-contentious IT/IP work through its company and commercial department, and contentious work through its litigation department.

Taylor's appointment makes him the eighth partner at Orchard, which was created in 1995 following the management buyout of Bermans' London practice.