Partners at Crutes in Carlisle mutiny

Northern insurance specialists Crutes has lost all the partners from its Carlisle office.

James Bell, John Park and Simon Kerridge have taken an undisclosed number of Crutes’ clients and formed Bell Park Kerridge, in what was Crutes’ Carlisle property.

Crutes now has only 17 partners.

Tim Wallis, Crutes’ joint managing partner, is the partner responsible for the Carlisle office, which has now moved next door.

But Wallis works in offices across the branches in Carlisle, Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

Crutes’ Carlisle office will continue to deal with insurance litigation, health and related work.

The three partners who have left have taken property, agricultural, commercial, personal injury and medical negligence, private client, and employment law clients with them.

Park says: “We assure clients the change will be seamless.”

Wallis says: “Three of our partners in Carlisle are leaving and that is obviously a disappointment to us.”

But he adds: “The firm has grown considerably over the past two decades as Crutes has changed from a small family partnership into a large commercial organisation.”

In January, the head of Crutes’ health department Richard Slack left the firm to join Eversheds in Newcastle (The Lawyer, 17 January.).

Bell Park has 13 other members of staff in its office, some of whom are thought to come from Crutes.

Both Bell Park and Crutes refused to comment on staffing, but it is believed that assistant solicitor Duncan Carter and legal executive Martin Hilton have made the move with the Bell Park team.

Crutes has retained at least four assistant solicitors – Peter Davies, Brian Murphy, Shaun O’Neil and Sheila Russell – but is still looking for lawyers.