In other news, Clarke Willmott has taken over the Birmingham office of Heatons, leaving the latter with just three partners in its Manchester office (The Lawyer, 3 April).
Clarke Willmott has acquired three partners and eight associates, including corporate specialists Rob Parry and Paul Wakefield, as well as commercial property partner Jonathan Morton.
As part of the deal, all client invoices and current work for Birmingham will transfer to Clarke Willmott.
The official line is that the corporate finance team in Birmingham decided that the practice had gone as far as it could with Heatons and wanted to work within a larger organisation.
But the Manchester headquarters of Heatons is understood to be over the moon about the loss.
The Lawyer has been told by a number of sources that an emergency meeting between Heatons’ corporate finance partners in Birmingham and senior management was held prior to the split, during which the Birmingham partners were told in no uncertain terms that their troubled office was being cut loose.
Faced with the possibility of running their own independent firm, the Birmingham partners went searching for a merger partner.
While the former Heatons partners maintain that Clarke Willmott is a great fit, the move has got others scratching their heads.
As one insider says: “Clarke Willmott isn’t known for corporate finance at all. It’s a very strange couple and I don’t know if it will work.”