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THREE partners are fleeing the controversial remerger of the Thompson trade union firms to set up a new London office of PI rivals Irwin Mitchell.
Colin Ettinger, Alison Eddy and Sara Lesley have rejected partnerships with the practice forged out of Robin Thompson and Brian Thompson.
The enlarged firm - Thompsons - will be launched next May, more than 18 months after the move was announced.
Sources inside the firm say that although partners voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger, an alternative to the proposed business strategy was rejected by only two votes.
Some partners at Robin Thompson are said to fear a more centralised management style. "The net result is that Brian Thompson controls nearly all the union contacts," one insider said.
The two firms were formed 21 years ago, when brothers Robin and Brian, now retired, separated them for what were described as "administrative reasons". They announced the remerger nearly a year ago and predicted a quick move.
Partner Stephen Cavalier said the move had been amicable. David Thompson will chair the partnership, with Frank Foy and Geoff Shears as joint managing partners. Thompson said: "The new firm will enable us to use our existing resources in a more efficient way."
Irwin Mitchell has been looking to establish a London office for some time.