Firms vie for insurance crown

Hammond Suddards and Hill Dickinson Davis Campbell are engaged in a Manchester sparring match as both firms seek to increase their presence in the city.

Hill Dickinson partner Paul Large has been poached by Hammonds to head its revamped and expanded insurance practice.

Large was due to leave Hill Dickinson's Liverpool office next April but left on 10 October to join Hammonds in Manchester. Neither practice would comment on the circumstances surrounding his swift departure, although the issue is still under discussion.

Large will be recruiting more fee earners to join Hammonds' Manchester office. Hill Dickinson is planning to place one or two partners in the city to head a new office, to be opened early in the New Year, concentrating on cargo insurance.

Hammonds senior partner John Heller said he estimated the firm's fee income from insurance litigation would be up by 25 per cent by the end of the financial year.

From its Leeds base Hammonds has been making strong moves into the London and Manchester insurance litigation market. In April the firm bought Forsyte Kerman's Lloyd's insurance team and in August it poached Elbourne Mitchell partner Nigel Blacklock and Steven Reynolds, a partner at Berwin Leighton, to bolster the Lloyd's of London office.