Browne Jacobson hire pulls in Legal Risk Management as client

The expanding construction team at Browne Jacobson has received instructions from major construction insurer Legal Risk Management for the first time

The client win follows the firm’s capture of construction partner Russell Deards from Midlands rival Nelsons. Deards, who was formerly a partner and head of construction at Nelsons, joined Browne Jacobson a month ago.

Browne Jacobson now has six fee-earners in the construction unit, which is headed by partner Peter Westlake.

Legal Risk Management, one of the UK’s biggest construction sector insurers, has followed Deards to Browne Jacobson. The insurance company is now instructing Browne Jacobson exclusively on all its before the event construction work in the East Midlands area.

Deards and Nelsons partner Leslie Gray won Legal Risk Management as a client for Nelsons. However, Gray, who had a solid client base in the North East, died in the Hatfield train disaster and Deards decided to switch allegiances to Browne Jacobson. Nelsons has refocused its strategy and is looking around for an East Midlands lateral hire to relaunch its construction practice with a more local focus.

Westlake said: “The Browne Jacobson construction team is now at a size where it can handle all contentious and non-contentious matters for clients in the construction industry. The clients and contacts that Russell has brought with him have complemented our existing client base.”

The construction unit has also taken on a town planner, an architect and a chartered surveyor. Deards, who has also attracted arbitration work from some of Nelsons’ former North East-based clients, says that further expansion is planned.

“Our next aim is to secure another non-contentious lawyer, either a senior solicitor or a lateral partner hire,” he said. “We’d like somebody with a following, but there’s enough work here to take on somebody without one.”