Addleshaws raids Garretts

Addleshaw Booth & Co is continuing its raid on Garretts, the associate law firm of Arthur Andersen, by taking two partners, including the head of property in its Leeds office Dean Copley.

It is understood that both Copley and property partner Paula Dillon are resigning today (Monday). Dillon will join Addleshaws in October after returning from maternity leave but it is not yet known when Copley will leave Garretts.

The resignations come just a month after the firm's senior partner in Leeds Sean Lippell, head of corporate Andrew Kay and corporate partner Simon Pilling left to join Addleshaws.

The appointments continue a week of celebrations for Addleshaws which was voted law firm of the year at The Lawyer Fifth Annual Awards last Tuesday.

The departures will be a severe blow to Arthur Andersen, which wants to position itself as a major player in the UK legal market.

The Lawyer broke the news to the senior partner of Garretts' Leeds office Richard Bonnar last week. His response was: “What? If they are going it is complete news to me. I have not received any resignations. I'd be very surprised. You've completely blown me out of the water.”

He added: “Paula has already been at Addleshaws. I would be very surprised.”

Copley had been head of property at Garretts for just over a month. He replaced the former department head Mike Sleath who left the firm due to a “lifestyle decision”.

The head of property has been instrumental in establishing Garretts as a main player in property law and will be a major loss to the firm.

Copley was responsible for setting up Garretts' Leeds office in 1994 and founded the firm's real estate group.

A source says that Addleshaws has been talking to both partners for some time and their decision to move is independent of the departures in May.

He says: “To an extent the fact that these departures have come so close together is a coincidence.”