Veale Wasbrough has been hit by the defection of two of its corporate partners to Bristol rivals Bevan Ashford.

The departure of the highly rated Nigel Campbell and Stuart Whitfield is the second major blow for 22-partner Veale Wasbrough in the past six months.

In March top employment lawyer Chris Southam left to join Hammond Suddards' London office.

A departure date for Campbell and Whitfield has yet to be agreed but it is thought that the two will join Bevan Ashford in November.

Confirming the moves, Veale Wasbrough senior partner Derek Bellew said that Campbell and Whitfield's departure was “still being discussed amicably and sensibly”.

“Nigel and Stuart felt that they could best develop their interests elsewhere,” Bellew added.

Campbell, who was head of company and commercial at Veale Wasbrough, refused to comment on his move.

Hiring Campbell and Whitfield is a coup for Bevan Ashford, which lost ground when two high-flying corporate partners, Paul Cooper and Patrick Graves, left the firm for Osborne Clarke in May last year.

Bevan Ashford senior partner Nick Jarrett-Kerr said: “This move is further indication of our tremendous commercial growth.”