Couderts' pair defect to Hammonds

COUDERT Brothers partners Christopher Haan and Peter Simpson have quit the firm to take up partnerships at the Leeds-based practice Hammond Suddards.

The move comes only two years after the pair sent shock waves through the legal community by defecting to Couderts from City practice SJ Berwin & Co, where Haan was senior partner.

Haan and Simpson, who specialise in tax work and mergers and acquisitions, are expected to join Hammonds' London office on 1 January as equity partners. They will work under the firm's head of corporate law, Noel Hutton.

Coudert's administrative partner, Steven Beharrell, says the announcement, not affect the practice's future

“When they joined us we had a two-year agreement which we hoped would lead to them being fully integrated into the equity,” says Beharrell.

“We hoped that agreement would lead to greater things but it hasn't done so, unfortunately.”

He says the associate content of Couderts' London office, which includes 28 fee-earners, has grown by 250 per cent since Haan and Simpson joined, but it is thought the pair wanted a larger base in the capital.

“They haven't really given us any clear reason for leaving,” he says. “They haven't been here long enough to make much of an impression or to really make a mark on the firm.”

Hammonds senior partner Alan Bottomley says Haan and Simpson have been brought on board to develop the firm's international practice and its financial base in the City. “They were put to us and obviously we were keen. We're delighted. They come with an established reputation,” he says.