Hammonds’ former managing partner Chris Jones will leave the firm in May next year as the 15-month equity partner lock-in comes to an end.
The news of Jones’s departure follows hot on the heels of senior partner Richard Burns’ July announcement that he is to quit his role at the end of the current financial year.
Jones was managing partner from 1995 to 2004, when he stepped down to be replaced by Leeds-based litigation head Peter Crossley. During his tenure in management, Hammonds grew from being a respected two-office regional firm to an international player beset by financial problems.
Since last summer Jones has returned to fee earning, joining the business recovery and reconstruction team. He is also a director of Hammonds’ debt collection spin-offs Drydens and Clarity Credit Management Solutions and is a non-executive director of the Britannia Building Society.
In July, Hammonds announced that its financial results for 2003-04, the last full year of Jones’s tenure as managing partner, were substantially lower than initially reported. Current and former equity partners are being asked to pay back drawings from the past two financial years and average profit per equity partner has slumped to just £204,000 for 2005.
Crossley said: “Hammonds and Chris Jones have agreed terms upon which he will retire as a partner at the end of the firm’s lock-in period.” He declined to comment further.