MAB scoops Goodmans’ ex-chief after tie-up fails

Watford firm Mathew Arnold & Baldwin (MAB) is preparing to make a fresh assault on London after the collapse of its merger talks with 20-partner media and entertainment firm Goodman Derrick.

In something of a coup, the 21-partner firm has hired Richard Gerstein, former managing partner at Goodmans and the man who led the merger talks for his former firm. Gerstein, 46, is a contentious and non-contentious construction specialist and the former managing partner of Finers Stephens Innocent. He is due to join MAB in the autumn to head the construction team.

The failure of the merger talks, which would have created a 40-partner firm with a turnover of around £16m, leaves MAB free to explore new options in its stated aim of opening in London. It has made no secret of its expansion plans, having hired former Eversheds managing partner Peter Scott to spearhead its merger strategy.

Goodmans has turned its back on merger in the short term and is concentrating on bedding in its property hires from Berger Oliver last year and a three-partner private client team from ASB Law in the summer. It is also preparing for a managing partner election in the autumn. Media partner Patrick Swaffer is currently acting managing partner.