DAC suffers blow as core team quits for Hammonds

Davies Arnold Cooper is reeling from another severe blow dealt by the exit of its construction team to rival firm Hammond Suddards.
The departures come on the back of the spate of redundancies at the firm's Manchester office, where the construction team is also based.
Nigel Proctor heads the team and will be joined at Hammond Suddards by associate David Vayro, Caroline Hilton – an assistant in the department, and trainee Julian Scott.
Also moving to Hammonds are Andrew West, a partner specialising in IT and intellectual property, and Jonathan Edwards, an associate who will be promoted to banking partner when he moves.
John Heller, senior partner at Hammond Suddards, confirms that the team will join the law firm alongside the partners made redundant during DAC's “strategic restructuring”.
Heller says: “You cannot operate a construction department without a banking and corporate department. It cannot be isolated because it is needed when you're going for PFI work.”
Heller adds: “Good people come on the market voluntarily or involuntarily, which is what happened with these people and that's why we wanted to move so quickly.”
DAC Manchester managing partner Phil Jepson says: “It is not something we wanted. Construction is one of our core businesses.
But he adds: “They have made their decision and it is an unfortunate decision. It is shortsighted on their part.”
He rejects Heller's assertion about the absence of banking and corporate work in the construction department. “There is no relation between those two areas. It crosses more with our litigation and our property departments, which are also the core business areas.”
“People are not bigger than the organisation. We will recruit, replace and keep the business. It is a setback, but we will get over it and rebuild the construction department as good, if not better than it was before.”
He adds: “As far as Andrew and Jonathan are concerned, we are very happy they have found a place at a good firm.”
Proctor refused to comment at the time of going to press.