Eversheds health team decamps to Beachcroft

<a class=Eversheds health team decamps to Beachcroft” />Beachcroft has taken an 11-lawyer clinical negligence team from Eversheds in a bid to become the ­leading healthcare practice in England and Wales.

The move comes after Beachcroft hired Eversheds clinical negligence partners David Weatherburn, Paul Taylor and Neil Rowe earlier this year.

The three-partner team had been held to a six-month notice period, and on 1 November 11 lawyers, 10 support staff and several paralegals will complete their transfer to Beachcroft under employment law ­regulations. They will be based between Beachcroft’s Leeds office and a new ­Newcastle office that is being launched for the team. Weatherburn is to lead the team.

Beachcroft managing partner Simon Hodson said: “Medical work is core to our strategy and we’re still recruiting. We think there’s a lot of work to be had out there and we’re the number one provider.

“This move will create one of the strongest clinical risk and health advice organisations in the country.”

A source close to Eversheds said that Weatherburn, who reputedly generated a revenue of at least £4m while at Eversheds, originally moved to Beachcroft because “there was a difference of opinion between David and the people he worked with about how to get the best out of what he does”.

Weatherburn ;led ­Eversheds into its coveted win of a NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) panel place.

NHSLA handles all ­clinical negligence claims for the NHS and has agreed to allow Weatherburn to take the panel place to Beachcroft, which is already a member of the 11-firm roster.

Meanwhile, Newcastle rivals have long speculated about the future of Eversheds’ Newcastle base, with the firm having consistently fended off speculation over the future of the office.

Eversheds ;recently recruited senior Dickinson Dees real estate partner Mitch Brown (The Lawyer, 10 March) and Newcastle firm Muckle’s former senior partner Ian Gilthorpe to develop its local business (The Lawyer, 11 July).

Clinical negligence claim volumes are expected to increase ;dramatically
as people become more ­litigious during the coming recession, Hodson said. The work is notorious for its tight profit margins and in order to win out, Beachcroft will have to build a strong base.

Hodson added: “As often as not, the issue is not about being opportunistic, but having the resources to build up an economy of scale.”

While Eversheds will feel the loss of the lucrative NHSLA work, the firm’s head of healthcare Bill Gilliam said: “If you look at it as fingers on a hand, David’s practice and ­clinical negligence was just one of the fingers.”

He added that Eversheds would make a strategic exit from the clinical negligence area and focus on more ­specialist healthcare work.

In September Eversheds joined Mills & Reeve on the NHS Purchasing and ­Supply ;Agency ;panel, ­fighting off competition from nine other law firms to win one of the two spots. The firm retains its core healthcare practice.

Weatherburn and his team declined to comment.

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