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Osborne Clarke has poached most of the key players in Davies Arnold Cooper's banking department .
Head of banking Chris Sykes, partner John Hayward and senior assistants Akmal Ghauri and Celena Ong will join Osborne Clarke's banking team in March.
Now only two partners, John Nelmes and Paul Webster, and two assistants are thought to be left in DAC's banking department.
All of the DAC recruits are moving to Osborne Clarke's London office.
Osborne Clarke established a policy of building up a network of banking departments across its Bristol, London and Reading offices last year (The Lawyer, 25 October 1999).
Until Jeremy Cross, a top in-house counsel at HSBC's headquarters in Hong Kong, was appointed, Osborne Clarke's Bristol office consisted only of Margaret Childs.
This month Hugh Jones, head of banking at Morgan Cole, also joined the Bristol office's banking department.
Osborne Clarke property partner Nadine Strahl and insolvency partner Patrick Cook are also moving to the firm's banking department. Strahl will work from London and Bristol, while Cook will be based solely in Bristol.
Leslie Perrin, managing partner of Osborne Clarke, says: "We have now got strong banking teams in all our UK offices, and these new hires mean we will be able to compete hard for City-type banking work."
Two years ago a consultant and four assistants were poached from DAC's banking group (The Lawyer, 14 July 1998). Half of the assistants defected to Nabarro Nathanson and the others went in-house.