Burges Salmon gains ex-Eversheds partner

Burges Salmon is strengthening its property and finance litigation practice by hiring the former senior partner of Eversheds‘ Bristol office.

Peter Morris has decided to join the Bristol firm, following the closure of the office on 1 May.

He says that Burges Salmon approached him after the decision was taken to close the practice to raise profitabiliy (The Lawyer, 5 February), but that he was already familiar with the firm.

Morris says: “I’ve known Burges Salmon for a good while, so I just got talking to them. Geographically, the office is 150 yards from Eversheds. It’s a great practice with a terrific reputation. I’ve litigated against and with them, so I felt very comfortable with them as a team.”

Morris will join four other commercial litigation partners and a total of 13 in the litigation department. He has been with Eversheds since 1994 when his firm, Holt Phillips, was taken over by the national firm.

He says that he considered moving to the Eversheds Cardiff office, which will be taking on the lawyers who chose to stay with the firm, but decided to stay in Bristol where he has been working for 15 years.

Among his clients Morris counts Bristol & West, for which he was closely involved in the first of the managed litigation cases a few years ago.

This was a case under Mr Justice Chadwick, which involved grouping around 400 cases of professional negligence against solicitors and surveyors together to free up the Bristol Chancery Court.

Burges Salmon carried out the fourth such case for Nationwide Building Society, which involved 500 cases.

Morris’ other clients include the British subsidiary of chemicals company Aventis (previously Rhone Poulenc).

Eversheds was unavailable for comment.

From the Eversheds Bristol office, Osborne Clarke is taking on banking litigator Nicolas Mehlig and licensing partner Jeremy Philips, while fellow banking partner Peter Fisher-Jones is moving to Citibank. The office originally had 10 partners and a total of 25 fee-earners.