Partner trio set to quit Hammonds

Hunton & Williams has scooped its second Hammonds partner in three months with the hire of John Deacon to kick-start a London construction practice.

Deacon’s departure coincides with that of two other Hammonds partners, who both announced their resignations last week. London-based head of technology Ged O’Neill and Birmingham commercial and IP partner Jonathan Moore are both set to leave the firm. O’Neill declined to comment on his destination, while Moore is understood to be considering his options.

The appointment of Deacon brings the number of partners in Hunton’s UK office to eight and follows AIM specialist Martin Thomas’s move from Hammonds to Hunton in September.

Hunton’s UK strategy was originally rooted in projects, with the aim of backing up the US practice. However, more recently the focus has been on corporate work.

Deacon’s practice, which is focused on contracts, infrastructure work and renewable energy, will mark a return to the firm’s London origins, dovetailing with the work of project finance partner Raúl Grable. Deacon’s clients at Hammonds included Taylor Woodrow and London Underground.

Deacon said: “I’m going to run much the same sort of practice at Hunton & Williams as I have at Hammonds. I’m very much looking forward to it.”

For Hammonds, Deacon’s move deals another blow to the London construction practice following this summer’s retirement of national department head David Jones and the move of Jonathan Hosie to Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw.

Rupert Cowen now heads Hammonds’ London construction office, with Simon Palmer the national head of construction.