Lovell White Durrant has been hit by several high profile departures, including the defection of highly respected corporate partner Andrew Curran who is joining US firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton.

Curran joins a growing number of British high fliers who have been tempted to move to US competitors. Last year, former Clifford Chance partners Martin Hughes and Maurice Allen were recruited by giant US practice Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Banking partner Catherine Allinson is also leaving. She wants to spend more time with her family.

It has also emerged that Michael Maunsell will retire from Lovells when he steps down as joint managing partner with Lesley MacDonagh in the spring of 1997.

A Lovells spokesperson said this was always his intention: “His retirement plans have been well known for at least 18 months.”

Curran said he expected his new role at the US firm to present opportunities for the two firms to work together on certain transactions.

Asked about the traffic between US and UK practices, MacDonagh said: “It's a two-way street – some of my most talented partners come from US firms.”