Pinsents hire delivers further blow to Eversheds

Eversheds” />Pinsent Masons has intensified its battle for regional talent with rival Eversheds, raiding its Manchester office for the third time in a year.

Pinsents scooped commercial partner Scot Morrison for its Manchester office. He will be reunited with former Eversheds partners Helen Ridge and Howard Gill, who joined Pinsents in November 2005.

Carl Garvie, head of Pinsents’ Manchester office, said: “We’ve not set about targeting a particular firm to take people out of the business. We’re looking for top-quality talent and it just happens that three partners have come from one firm.”

Morrison’s practice focuses on commercial contracts and real estate joint ventures, particularly in relation to regeneration projects.

Pinsents managing partner David Ryan said: “[Morrison] will help build the commercial practice in Manchester and also take a strategic role in the regeneration group.”

Eversheds regional managing partner Stephen Hopkins wished Morrison well. He said Morrison wanted to change direction and set up a practice focused on commercial rather than public-private partnership matters.

Hopkins noted that Pinsents had been active in Manchester: “Pinsents has been recruiting aggressively in Manchester generally, they’ve also recruited from firms like Hammonds and Halliwells,” he said.

Hiring Morrison is part of Pinsents’ strategy to rebuild its Manchester office.

The firm experienced problems integrating the Pinsent Curtis Biddle and Masons offices following their 2004 merger, leading to seven partner departures.

A five-lawyer corporate team left for Eversheds in March, and was replaced by Hammonds corporate partner Stephen Levy and Halliwells partner Chris Moss.

“We’re very committed to Manchester and our expansion plans there,” said Ryan.

Garvie said that he had hired a number of associates in the employment and corporate practice areas, with the plan to expand further.

“We haven’t stopped yet,” said Garvie.