Hammonds hires Grant Thornton to sell team

Hammond Suddards is engaging the services of accountant Grant Thornton to advise on selling off its bulk litigation department.

It is understood that under the instruction of Hammonds, Grant Thornton has approached up to half a dozen firms about either taking on the team or buying the department’s work in progress.

The firm announced its plans to hive off the team in February (The Lawyer, 14 February).

One insider says that the firms approached by Grant Thornton have been required to sign a “horrendous” confidentiality agreement.

However, Paul Taylor, national senior partner at Berrymans Lace Mawer, says: “I don’t know what is going on but the team is telling anyone that will listen that they are going to go out on their own.”

Michael Rogerson, head of legal services at Grant Thornton, says: “We have a policy of not confirming or denying which clients we are or are not working for.”

Paul Large, insurance partner at Hammonds, says he is not aware of Grant Thornton’s instruction, but says: “We are considering the unit being ring-fenced to become a standalone operation.”

Peter Metcalf, insurance partner at Hammonds, says: “Setting up a new company and a new firm had been my understanding of the situation.”

John Heller, senior partner at Hammonds, denies that the firm has instructed Grant Thornton to sell off the business department.