Irwin Mitchell to close practices in the Midlands

Irwin Mitchell is closing down three of its four commercial groups in Birmingham, leaving 15 jobs hanging in the balance, including those of its six fee-earners and two trainees

The national firm is closing its Birmingham insolvency, corporate finance and property departments, leaving only employment as its remaining commercial offering in the Midlands. It aims to ‘re-deploy’ the 15 staff around the Birmingham office and is beginning its consultations with them today (30 September).

The move follows a two-month business review carried out by Irwin Mitchell. The firm experienced a record 49 per cent hike in profits last year, largely owing to its strong focus on the counter-cyclical insurance market. It has decided to close the Midlands commercial departments because they are the least profitable parts of the business.

“These areas were making a profit, but were less profitable than other parts of the business. We have decided to prioritise where we put our investment,” said Irwin Mitchell head of corporate services Kevin Cunningham.

There were four partners in the axed practice areas. Insolvency partners Stephen George and Devinder Singh are leaving for Hammonds, a move they had finalised before the results of the business review. Property partner John Flathers and corporate finance partner David Williams are relocating to the Leeds office.

George and Singh were recruited by Hammonds following a six-month search by the firm for partners to shore up its insolvency practice, which has been hit by three partner losses this year.

Hammonds is also losing another insolvency partner in Birmingham. Daniel Lunn is said to be leaving for lifestyle reasons, according to Hammonds insolvency head John Alderton.

“George and Singh are people we identified as up-and-coming stars in the Midlands insolvency market. Daniel handed in his notice a week ago and will be leaving in due course,” Alderton said.