Wragge & Co rainmaker quits to join Hammonds

In a move that has rocked the Birmingham market, Hammonds has scooped an unprecedented lateral hire from Wragge & Co, taking highly-rated litigation partner Ann Benzimra to boost its own Midlands practice.

Wragges has prided itself on never losing partners to Birmingham rivals, but one market source predicted that Benzimra would soon be followed. “She will show that there is life outside the firm,” said the source.

Benzimra, a big biller, will take over as Hammonds’ Birmingham litigation head from Digby Rose, who plans to take early retirement in 2005. She is understood to have been keen to gain a management position.

Hammonds’ national head of commercial dispute resolution Peter Crossley told The Lawyer: “Ann is a partner who already has a significant reputation in the West Midlands. I’m convinced that she is an incredible work puller.”

He added: “We’ve had to battle away at the perception that we’re not serious about Birmingham. That is absolutely not the case. We see that there are real opportunities for growth in the West Midlands.”