Davies Arnold Cooper axes 90 staff in specialisation drive

DAVIES Arnold Cooper (DAC) is making 14 lawyers in its London office redundant, and is closing its corporate department in Manchester.

Around 90 staff are being made redundant altogether.

The five partners and nine assistants made redundant in London include corporate partners Chris Croft, Anbereen Salamat and Stephen Lane, in addition to two unnamed partners from the reinsurance and professional indemnity group.

The five-partner, 19-strong corporate team in Manchester will be abs-orbed by an unnamed local firm within the next two weeks. The three firms believed to be bidding for for DAC's team are Garretts, Halliwell Landau and Addleshaw Booth & Co.

Two partners from the team may be transferred to London to advise on corporate issues in property and banking.

DAC is also considering selling its Manchester premises.

David Hertzell, managing partner at DAC, says the moves are part of the firm's plan to focus on its specialist areas of property, banking and insurance dispute resolution. He denies that the firm is in any financial difficulty and says there are no more internal cuts planned.

He says the firm asked itself the questions: “Where do we do business? What can we do in the top quartile, and where will we struggle?”

“We were not going to be able to build up a corporate practice in Manchester,” he says.

Hertzell says he believes many medium-sized firms will be examining their practices to concentrate on their core strengths.

“The truth is the top five firms have always adopted that approach,” he says.

Hertzell took over as managing partner two weeks ago from Laurence Messer, who has stood down as a result of ill-health.

Hertzell says Messer's decision was not connected with the restructuring.