Pannone’s commercial practice set to shrink

Pannone’s commercial practice is reducing amid questions over its strategic direction in a firm whose traditional strengths lie in private client work.

The corporate services department has seen the departure of four key lawyers. Former corporate head Simon Wallwork has left alongside partner Simon Foy and two highly regarded associates, Lucy Dawson and Alison Probert.

A redundancy process is also underway in commercial property. Among ­support staff layoffs have been made in business development and a number of ­secretaries are set to
go, although the latter development has not yet been announced.

The cuts are part of a ­radical shake-up of the ­business by new managing partner Emma Holt, who hails from the clinical negligence team, in contrast to her predecessor, corporate partner Steven Grant.

Holt, who would not ­comment on the secretarial redundancies, admitted that a “rebrand” of the firm was underway, but denied that this was indicative of a move away from commercial work.

“The firm will be remaining in these areas,” she said. “There’s no issue about the types of work we do.”

But an insider said: ­”Pannone isn’t a first-­division corporate practice; the ­traditional core is private client and that’s been supporting the firm throughout [the downturn].”