Altheimer loses another partner as costs mount

Altheimer & Gray’s London office is costing between $2m (£1.2m) and $2.5m (£1.5m) over the last financial year as the firm suffers another partner defection, this time to Howard Kennedy.

The Lawyer can reveal that the 37-lawyer office has had to face up to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of property costs connected to 11,000 sq ft of unused space at 7 Bishopsgate.

Sources close to the firm state that the 7 Bishopsgate space, which has been vacant for at least 12 months, has set the firm back around £500,000 in property costs.

Altheimer has also been hit with additional expenses due to the generous remuneration packages afforded to certain partners guaranteeing income levels.

Altheimer has also had to make severance payments to a large number of people, both partners and associates, who have left the firm since it set up in London in June 1999. Last week property partner Nicky Stewart joined another former Altheimer partner Laurence Begner at Howard Kennedy.

Commenting on the figures, Anthony Fine, head of the firm’s London office, said Altheimer has, and continues to, contribute central cash and central profits, but that there were accounting differences between the UK and the US. He also said the firm had made collections of £9m for the financial year ended October 2002.