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Two partners are quitting seven-partner Stephens Innocent, the media-friendly law firm run by flamboyant senior partner Mark Stephens.
Stuart Lockyear is to join Davenport Lyons as an intellectual property litigator, with copyright partner Robin Fry heading in-house to join an internet start-up company.
One leading media lawyer reports being approached by a number of other associates looking to join rival firms.
Another media lawyer at a rival firm says: "It will be very interesting to see how the future pans out for Stephens Innocent."
Senior partner Mark Stephens is one of the leading defamation lawyers. His cleints have included Paul Yates and the "McLibel two". He is currently organising the Law Society's annual conference in Disneyland, Paris.
Lockyear was unavailable for comment. Fry insists his departure is amicable.