Tunbridge Wells-based solicitors Thomson Snell & Passmore has poached Shoosmiths partner Nick Hobden to head its employment unit. Hobden, who was head-hunted by Thomson Snell, joined Shoosmiths in 1994 as part of niche Reading firm Berrys. He was made a partner at Shoosmiths in 1995, and was latterly head of employment in the Reading office. The employment team is made up of one partner and two assistants. It was previously led by Jill Kelly, who left for the employment department of Clarks in Reading. Hobden said: "I was keen to move to a different part of the country and the potential for business development in the South East is huge. It was really a chance for me to re-energise." Previously, he has successfully advised a minority shareholder on the notable O'Neill Phillips case before the House of Lords in February 2000. He has also had experience defending national corporates on largescale redundancies and dismissal cases. Thomson Snell practice manager Mark Day said: "Nick brings a practical and cool-headed approach to employment problems, with a ready appreciation of the wider implications of action and an emphasis on business advice and strategy." Hobden says that he is keen to develop legal skills among the firm's clients through training and seminars.