Morgan Cole shaken as four leave to launch property firm

Morgan Cole has put its Swansea head of property and three other property partners on gardening leave after the shock news that they plan to set up their own niche firm in the city.

Property team leader Tarquin Hall is leaving the firm with fellow equity partners Rosemary Morgan, Chris Cann and fixed-share partner William Waters. The departures are a further blow to the firm's property division following the move of London-based property partner Neil Logan Green to Eversheds. It also follows the resignation of energy partner Paul Dillon from the London office (The Lawyer, 9 July).
It is understood that the Swansea team will not take any other staff from Morgan Cole.
Firm-wide head of property Philip Jardine said the team's decision to leave came out of the blue for the firm. “They were not asked to leave. This is their decision,” he said. “As far as we know, it is a niche property practice that they intend to set up. They clearly don't want to be part of a big firm. They want to be able to sit around the same table and make their own decisions.”
Recent lateral hire Nigel Griffiths has stepped into the role of property team leader in Swansea, where Morgan Cole now has four property partners.
Jardine said that it was business as usual, but admitted that some client losses were likely. “The work we've been doing in the property team in Swansea is for a range of institutional and public sector clients and is remaining in Morgan Cole. We expect there will be a personal following [of clients], but that's a matter of discussion in the weeks and months ahead.
“Losing four people in one go isn't something you choose, but we have the sort of practice that can easily manage this sort of thing. We're able to move people around to cover the work.”
Jardine said the departures were entirely unrelated to the firm's decision to move into a purely merit-based compensation system for the financial year 2000-2001 (The Lawyer, 9 April). “That's not figured on our radar,” he said.
News of the departures came after a decision at the firm's June partner meeting to create 30 new fee-earner jobs across all practice areas in Swansea.