Mishcons hit by partner exodus

Five partners, including Princess Diana's divorce lawyer Maggie Rae, are leaving Mishcon de Reya following a wholesale partnership shake-up at the troubled firm.

The highly-rated Rae will join entertainment firm Clintons in February next year, together with fellow partner Elizabeth Vernon and two assistants.

Mishcon's head of media Jonathan Cameron and junior partner Mimi Curran are off to fast-expanding Paisner & Co.

Also going are head of insolvency Michael Gleeson, who is holding discussions with a number of firms, and head of private client, consultant Christopher Allen, who is to join Lawrence Graham.

The departures coincide with a restructuring at 25-partner Mishcons, which has converted 11 of its 17 salaried partners to full equity status.

The remaining six are in what litigation partner Tony Morton-Hooper described as “a small waiting room” before they take equity.

He said the changes were part of a continuing process of review that “reaches watersheds from time to time”.

The partners have also elected Kevin Gold and Philip Freedman, currently head of corporate and property respectively, to the new posts of joint managing partners for a two to three-year period.

Morton-Hooper said the firm's controversial remuneration structure – widely blamed for causing a lot of the tensions within the partnership – had become “slightly less merit-based than before”.

He said the firm was sorry to see the partners go, but said it was still “made up of some strong-minded individuals”.

The latest departures bring the total number of partners to have left in the last two years to 11.