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Two partners have quit Pinsent Curtis Biddle. They will be the first to leave the newly-created firm.
Media partner Duncan Lamont is joining Charles Russell while copyright specialist Hubert Best has also resigned and is believed to be in talks with Hammond Suddards Edge.
Regional firm Pinsent Curtis and media specialist Biddle's merger became official last Thursday (1 February). Lamont, who has a long-term relationship with ITN, and Best, are the first partners to leave.
Senior partner Martin Lane remains unfazed by the departures. He says that Pinsent Curtis Biddle's technology and media department will now centre on Biddle partner David Hooper's defamation and publishing practice.
He adds: "They have decided they can develop their niche specialisms elsewhere. We wish them well."
But the departure of Lamont is a blow to Biddle's relationship with ITN, which dates back to 1955. He handles a range of work for the news giant, including prepublication, litigation, compliance and regulatory advice, and is taking the client with him to Charles Russell.
ITN director of business affairs James Scorer confirms the group will be following Lamont to Charles Russell.
He says: "We had a long association with Biddle. However, over the past few years Duncan has become our main point of contact and has won some quite significant cases for us recently." Lamont acted for ITN in its successful libel action against Living Marxism.
Pinsent Curtis Biddle will maintain some links with ITN, predominantly through its pensions practice.
Lamont's departure comes only months after another key ITN partner, Kim Walker, also quit Biddle, for Olswang (The Lawyer, 16 October).
Lamont, who has been with Biddle for seven years, concedes that Walker's departure was a personal blow, adding: "His skills were missed by me because they were supportive." But he denies that either Walker's departure or the merger is behind his decision to quit.