Barlows puts ‘stay or go’ option to its banking staff

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert is to let its banking associates choose whether to stay at the firm or follow two departing banking partners to Winston & Strawn’s London office.

Barlows has decided to abandon its rated independent banking practice, prompting the exits of head of banking Graham Wedlake and partner Neil James, who will join the US firm at the end of the month.

Senior partner Richard Dedman said the move follows last November’s announcement that corporate head John Longdon was retiring from the firm.

Dedman told The Lawyer: “We took that opportunity to carry out quite a careful review. As a result, we decided that what we wanted to do was to have a high-quality banking team which would support the corporate department.”

He added that the structure of the corporate support practice had yet to be decided. He said any associates who did not want to move with Wedlake and James would be able to remain at Barlows.

Winston and Barlows have had a referral relationship since the US firm launched in London in mid-2003. Wedlake and James will boost the number of UK partners to six. Their clients at Barlows include Barclays, Lloyds TSB and GE Commercial Finance.

Winston did not return calls for comment.