Three Freshfields partners quit for LeBoeuf Lamb

LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae has raided Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for a three-partner real estate and environment team.

Freshfields partners John Bowman, Graham Prentice and Paul Watchman will be joined at LeBoeuf by former colleague and current head of environment at Blake Lapthorn Linell Nicholas Rock.

“There is a high quality of work at the magic circle but the one thing that the magic circle does not have is a US presence,” Watchman told The Lawyer.

Watchman and Prentice are among the 30 Freshfields partners to take advantage of the favourable terms offered before the firm changes its pension scheme.

As first reported in The Lawyer (31 July 2006), 30 Freshfields partners will retire from the partnership on November 1 to lock in their entitlement to the firm’s old pensions package.

Watchman commented: “We’re not moving because of pensions but it was a reason to answer the phone when the headhunter rang.”

LeBoeuf has been searching for an environmental and real estate team since the beginning of the year.

The Freshfields partners have worked together on a number of projects together and worked closely with Rock before he departed for Blake Lapthorn in November 2004.

The firm is looking to recruit to build a team of about 12 lawyers, which the LeBoeuf hopes will complement its US environment and real estate practice.

A Freshfields spokesperson said: “We wish them all well in their new endeavours.”