Bristol firm Veale Wasbrough has poached a leading property litigation partner from local rival Cartwrights.
Nigel Puddicombe will join Veale Wasbrough after 14 years as a partner at Cartwrights, where he currently heads up property litigation. A start date is still being negotiated.
Puddicombe's clients at Cartwrights have included Railtrack. He acts principally for lenders and landlords, including breweries and pub companies, local authorities and property companies.
The high-profile hire follows the arrival of Burges Salmon's head of property finance Stuart King, who joined Veale Wasbrough last July.
Puddicombe joins six lawyers in property litigation at the firm, but he will be the only partner in the division. His arrival will bring Veale Wasbrough's property team to seven partners.
Managing partner Simon Pizzey says: "We're aiming to strengthen and develop the practice as a major player in the Bristol and regional market place. We have a very good existing team and we're growing it to provide a broader litigation team for our property clients."
The practice's key areas are property development and management and central and local government work. Clients include Bristol City Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Edward Ware Homes, Total Fina, Transco and Airbus UK.
Puddicombe confirms that he will be leaving Cartwrights for Veale Wasbrough but says that it is inappropriate to comment further.
Cartwrights' head of commercial property, Emrys Parry, says: "Nigel is leaving to specialise further in property litigation."
Parry hopes Railtrack will stay with the firm. He says: "Under our agreement with Railtrack we have a deputy for it. Nigel Williams [head of litigation] will step directly into the role."
He adds: "We will now be looking for a broader-based commercial litigator to do property litigation and other litigation."