Newcastle’s Ward Hadaway has snatched Eversheds partner Melanie Pears as its new head of public sector.

Pears specialises in public procurement and commercial negotiation, and joins the 58-partner firm’s commercial department, headed by partner Colin Hewitt. She brings with her assistant Sarah Green, and project administrator Carole Britten.

The hire follows those of Eversheds’ former regional senior partner Chris Hugill, who joined Ward Hadaway on 1 May this year, and its local construction chief Ralph Wrighton, in February 2005.

Pears joining is a vote of confidence in Ward Hadaway, whose year-end results, first reported in The Lawyer on June 14, showed increased turnover but static profits.

Turnover hit £21.6m, a 6 per cent increase on 2004-05’s £20m, but profit per equity partner remained at £370,000.