Manchester law firm Philip Conn & Co has lost one of its top intellectual property partners to Alsop Wilkinson, the second IP partner to leave the firm recently.

Graeme Orchison and Lee Brierley left after helping to establish the firm's reputation as one of the leading IP practices outside London over the past few years.

Their exit, which leaves the firm with just four partners, is the second blow to the firm this year. In April Manchester firm Donn & Co, as a result of advice from its accountants, forced a split with Conn & Co just 29 days after the two practices merged.

Raymond Donn, Donn & Co's senior partner, said at the time that he had been impressed by Conn & Co's highly regarded IP department.

Brierley said that both he and Orchison left because Alsops provided them with better opportunities.

Their appointment as associates brings the number of Alsops IP fee earners to eight.

Alsops managing partner, Nigel Kissack said: “I believe we now have the largest specialist IP presence in the city.” He added that the firm was committed to the sector.

A spokesman for Philip Conn & Co said the firm was recruiting other IP partners.