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Manchester firm Wacks Caller has strongly denied suggestions of internal problems after the defection of two partners and two lawyers.
In a reversal of fortune for the firm, partners Geoffrey Smith and David Leverton have left the firm they joined in January 1995 when they defected from Fox Brooks Marshall.
Wacks snatched four partners and nine fee earners from Fox Brooks, temporarily crippling its Manchester rival while doubling its size.
However, the departure of Smith to Manchester firm Mainman Heywood, commercial property specialist Leverton and assistant solicitor Sharon McGladdery to Vaudreys and another lawyer to Dibb Lupton Alsop over the Christmas period led to speculation about internal difficulties.
Wacks partner Martin Caller strongly denied that there were fundamental problems: "This is the norm in the industry now," he said of the departures. "I think lawyers are becoming very much like footballers."
His comments were backed by Leverton who left on 31 December. "Though the departures happened at the same time they were unrelated," he said.
Leverton added that he left Wacks without any rancour. Vaudreys, he said, was simply offering a positive opportunity, although he has not been made a partner at the firm.
The Manchester legal community has been transformed by a large number of staff changes recently.