A year ago this week

Simmons changes partnership deeds

Simmons & Simmons changed its partnership deed to include gardening leave for the first time, to stem the flow of partner defections.

Under the new deal a six-month notice period had to be given which could be enforced at the senior partner’s discretion.

The first partner to be affected by the new regime was Colin Mercer, who that week announced he was moving to the London office of US firm Brown & Wood – to start on 11 May.

Mercer followed John Russell, who was co-founder of Simmons’ securities practice. Nine partners left the firm during 1999.

While there was a small flurry of partners leaving Simmons at the beginning of this year, things have calmed down, bringing this year’s total to six departures, one of whom, Tom Keevil, left for one of Simmons biggest clients, Gallaher.

Garban’s head of legal quits for internet post at Telstar

Garban-Intercapital’s high-profile head of legal Gillian Switalski left the financial services company for Telstar’s new internet venture.

Switalski was not to be replaced, as Garban had inherited a legal team of two when it merged in June 1999 with Intercapital.

Switalski was the former director of corporate services at National Lottery organiser Camelot and general manager of legal affairs at Sony UK.

Switalski left Telstar’s internet music wholesaler Startle after only one month. The reasons at the time were not clear although one source claimed that the venture was different to what she expected. The venture was subject to a management buyout in December 1999. Since then, Switalski has retained a low profile and it is not known where she is working.

Beachcroft Wansbroughs agrees partner share scheme with US firm

Beachcroft Wansbroughs agreed to share the projects team which was poached by US firm Buchanan Ingersoll. The team of five partners and seven assistants led by Barry Francis, which specialises in health PFI work, would work as subcontractors to Beachcrofts on pre-existing deals. Negotiations for the innovative agreement took two months to iron out.

There remain two projects on which the Buchanan team are working for Beachcrofts. Another one, the deal to build the new Royal London Hospital, has been sent out for retender after the client decided it wanted only one firm working on it. Both firms are now set to bid against each other for the work (The Lawyer, 30 October 2000).