DWF bulks up with Cobbetts defectors

The first shockwaves of Cobbetts’ dramatic partnership overhaul, as first reported by The Lawyer (28 January), have already been felt with the departure of two lawyers for rival DWF.

Joel Heap, a litigator who became Cobbetts’ youngest partner in 2004, has moved over to the smaller firm as a partner. Heap was a salaried partner at his former firm, a role that will be entirely phased out as part of the internal shake-up.

Also heading for DWF is banking colleague Graham Hall. Hall was one of 10 lawyers to be made up to the newly created role of director under the recent changes at Cobbetts. He will head DWF’s Manchester banking team at partner level.

The hires come as DWF also brings partners into itsinsurance and corporate departments.

Philip D’Netto, who acts primarliy in road traffic accident cases, joins the catastrophic injury team from Halliwells, while Gavin Maddison arrives from Addleshaw Goddard, where he had developed a specialisation in LLPs. In the last 12 months DWF has made 18 lateral hires at partner level, a strategy that managing partner Andrew Leaitherland believes is sustainable.

“Frankly, if we don’t have that kind of growth in the current market, we’re not going to meet our objective [of becoming a top 30 law firm by 2010],” he said.