Watson Burton pair quits to set up family boutique



Lyn Ayrton and Karen Eckstein have set up Leeds-based Lake Legal, bringing a six-strong team of support staff and associates with them from Watson Burton.

The new firm, which launched at the beginning of the month, will focus on family law, led by Ayrton, and ­litigation, led by ­Eckstein.

The litigation group ­covers PI and tax litigation. Ayrton said Lake Legal will have a 40 per cent focus on family, with litigation ­making up the remainder.

“Our practice at Watson Burton has given us great confidence to set up our own firm,” she said. “Our family practice is recession-proof and Karen has some ­fantastic PI clients.”

Eckstein’s clients include Hiscox Professional Indemnity Insurance and Markel International.

Lake Legal has made its first two lateral hires, taking on litigation associates Richard Fitzgerald from Irwin Mitchell and James Allen from DLA Piper.

“We’ve had a great response from clients and the market so far,” said Ayrton. “It’s fantastic that we’ve already recruited a team. It’s very exciting for us.”

Ayrton and Eckstein have left Watson Burton during a difficult period for the firm. Earlier this year (1 June) The Lawyer reported on the firm overhauling its equity ­partnership less than a year after it restructured its ­remuneration system.

Watson Burton has implemented an enhanced remuneration level that just seven partners, including senior partner Rob Langley and managing partner Gillian Hall, will be members of.