Norton Rose stands firm on strict exit strategy

Norton Rosestands firm on strict exit strategy” />Norton Rose is playing hardball with Herbert Smith as negotiations over a departure date for two Dubai-based partners enter a second month.

Finance partners Nadim Khan and Zubair Mir quit Norton Rose in mid-October to launch Herbert Smith’s new Dubai office. But the duo, whose resignations have materially weakened Norton Rose’s presence in the region, have failed to secure a leave date and are still working at Norton Rose.

Norton Rose has a reputation for taking a tough stance on departing partners. The four-partner securities team of Jonathan Walsh, Vincent Keaveny, Bruce Somer and Ian Porter, who quit to join Baker & McKenzie’s London arm in May, were originally held to a 12-month notice period. However, the firm later agreed that the team could move earlier after it secured a third lateral hire to plug the gap left by the partners’ departures.

Commenting on the notice period, Walsh said: “Holding people to extended notice periods isn’t helpful to either party.”

Nonetheless, the team was held to a 12-month non-solicitation clause, which expired last Friday (1 December).

A spokesperson for Norton Rose said of the restrictive covenants: “We are guided very much by what the needs of the clients are and making sure that they’re serviced.

“We need to make sure that there’s adequate cover for the institutional relationships to be maintained. Each case is taken on its merits and the best interests of the clients are always paramount in our minds.”

The departure of Khan and Mir has halved Norton Rose’s Dubai partnership, leaving behind Graeme Muir and Tahir Ahmed.