Osborne Clarke is losing three partners, including London head of competition Neil Baylis
Baylis is leaving the firm after being in his post for just a year to head up the competition department at Nicholson Graham & Jones, which he will join on 2 April. Baylis, who joined Osborne Clarke from Ashurst Morris Crisp, is understood to be leaving amid what a source described as tension between the firm's London and Bristol offices. He was the first designated competition partner to join Osborne Clarke's London office. "There's a definite split between London and Bristol," the source said. "The London office has very little autonomy in some areas. The tensions over work allocation is more of an issue for people in tax and property." Claire Wagner, a partner based in the Bristol office who historically dealt with commercial and competition matters, has been focusing solely on competition law over the last 12 months. Wagner will take responsibility for competition in London until a replacement is found. Wagner dismissed claims of tension between London and Bristol. She said: "We all work very closely across the three offices. Neil wasn't a partner before he joined Osborne Clarke and was taken in as part of a growing practice. We see ourselves as one firm and this friction is news to me." Stuart Long, a London-based tax partner, is also leaving, having been at the firm for around 18 months. Long has resigned but it is understood that he has not yet secured new employment. Bristol-based tax partner Philip Moss is now splitting his time between London and Bristol following news of Long's departure. Most of the department heads are based in the Bristol office, including managing partner Leslie Perrin and senior partner Chris Curling, although time is spent travelling between all offices. Although the Bristol office, which has 45 partners, is the firm's original site, it by no means dwarfs the London office, which has 44 partners, while the Thames Valley office has nine. Osborne Clarke is also losing intellectual property (IP) litigation partner Della Burnside and her key assistant Georgina Taylor to the London office of US firm Altheimer & Gray. The team gives Altheimer a dedicated IP capability for the first time.