BLG’s threat of legal action steps up aviation row

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) is set to launch a breach of fiduciary duty action against its departing aviation team after it decided to defect to rival Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW)

BLG, London offices
BLG, London offices

The eight-partner team, led by Giles Kavanagh, quit BLG in March (The Lawyer, 24 March). The shock move was widely believed to be one of the factors that led to BLG entering into merger talks with rival Clyde & Co.

A source close to BLG said of the decision to sue: “It’s hugely personal and very sensitive. It wasn’t an easy decision for the partners to make. It’s likely they’ll settle.”

It is understood that the aviation team had courted a number of opportunities at rival firms, including Kennedys, before HFW secured the appointment.

The decision to move, which is believed to have been taken by the whole team, was motivated by BLG’s takeover of Halliwells’ volume practice, which some in the firm perceived was taking BLG’s brand downmarket.

The team is being held to its notice period and is working in BLG’s offices.

The group’s clients include aviation suppliers Rolls-Royce and Boeing; domestic airlines British Midland International and Monarch; and foreign ­carriers Etihad Airways and Kingfisher Airlines.

It is understood that BLG wants a slice of the profits generated by the team when it moves to HFW, although the firm refused to comment on that matter.

The aviation partners could not be reached for comment.