Leading travel insolvency practitioner Trevor Sears is quitting Kingsford Stacey Blackwell for Davenport Lyons, giving the firm an insolvency capability for the first time.
Sears has been a partner at Booth & Blackwell, which merged with Kingsford Stacey three years ago, since 1973. But last summer he decided to move, predominantly because of concerns over his remuneration levels. He says: "I suppose reward had something to do with it, and it soon became apparent to me that I was worth an awful lot more than I was getting."
But although Sears was an equity partner at Kingsford Stacey, he will not be joining his new firm in the same capacity. He joins instead as a fixed-share equity partner, although the position will be reviewed at a later date.
Sears' departure will be a blow to Kingsford Stacey. He is one of the country's leading travel lawyers, specialising in insolvency cases, and is seen as the lynchpin to the firm's highly-regarded travel practice.
Sears will take all of his clients with him, along with assistant Bryn Robertson. One of his principal clients is the International Air Transport Association (Iata), for which he is UK local counsel. Within this capacity, Sears advises a host of airlines, including British Airways (BA), Lufthansa and other members.
Examples of cases he has worked on include the Debonair and AB Airline insolvencies.
But Kingsford Stacey managing partner Charles Rankmore remains upbeat about his departure. He says in a statement: "While we're sorry to lose Trevor, we don't consider that his departure will in any way affect our strategy of expansion in core business areas."
He adds that the merged firm has undergone considerable growth - partner numbers have nearly doubled to 26 - and he expects "further growth this year".
Sears will be based within the litigation department at Davenport Lyons, although he will focus on a wide range of work, including insolvency, private client and leisure.