Rumours fly as third partner announces exit from Stephens Innocent

Another partner is leaving Stephens Innocent amid speculation that senior partner Mark Stephens may also be planning to join another firm.

Employment partner Deborah Annetts is the third partner to announce her exit from the seven-partner firm in a week, with Stephens rumoured to be in talks with another City firm about moving and setting up a new media practice.

Stephens is one of the most well-known media lawyers in London, having represented celebrities including Paula Yates and Anthea Turner.

Stephens refuses to confirm or deny the rumours. “The marketplace is awash with rumours and I am not in a position to make any comment,” he says. He says there will be a “big story” next week, before adding: “I am not going to say anything else.”

City commercial practice Rakisons has been named as the firm Stephens could be talking to, but it too declined to comment.

Annetts is to join city IT and media law firm Tarlo Lyons as head of employment in November. Her departure follows that of Stuart Lockyear and Robin Fry whose moves to Davenport Lyons and an internet start-up company respectively were revealed in The Lawyer last week.

She says: “Tarlo Lyons offers me more commercial and corporate support than I currently have.

“I see my move as an exciting opportunity.”