BLP water chief jumps ship to Bircham

The head of Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) water practice has left the firm as the City outfit prepares to take over Thames Water’s legal function.

Partner John Hurdley, who advises clients ­including Bournemouth and West Hants Water, Cambridge Water and Portsmouth Water, will join Bircham Dyson Bell as a partner.

BLP is in the process of finalising a £5m-per-year agreement with Thames Water, which will see it ­manage all of the client’s legal needs (, 25 March).

Although Bircham partner Nick Brown currently advises Thames Water on public law and planning matters, Bircham and other firms are expected to see their mandates dwindle as a result of the BLP deal.

Corporate partner Patrick Somers, who manages the Thames Water relationship at BLP, has taken over the role of head of the firm’s water focus group.