City firm sidelines property to sharpen act

City firm Watson, Farley & Williams is scaling back its ambitions in property as part of an internal re-organisation designed to sharpen the focus of its core activities.

It is establishing four groups comprising banking and finance, shipping, litigation and corporate.

There will still be a property department dealing with financing. “But,” said senior partner Alsatair Farley, “we will not be trying to do everything else such as planning applications and residential.”

He said the re-organisation was not about cost savings or cutting jobs but to do with an internal re-restructuring which aims to make the firm more efficient and less fragmented.

Farley added that its international offices in New York and Paris would also be more focused.

“Some might call this greater centralisation but we see it as moving away from small groups all doing their own thing. What we are trying to do is pull together in a more sensible manner and achieve greater cross-fertilisation of talent.”

The corporate department will span IT, telecommunications, power projects, corporate finance and an EU unit, added Farley.

Recently, Watson Farley strengthened its New York office by appointing Richard Jarashow as a partner at the firm's maritime and commercial litigation group, headed by Al Yudes.

Jarashow joined from New York maritime firm Haight Gardner Poor.