SJ Berwin partner duo quit for BLP, Lloyds

Two partners have quit SJ Berwin in the wake of its disputed managing partner election, with property litigation head Michael Metliss going to Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and competition partner Niamh Grogan to Lloyds Banking Group.

Metliss joins BLP as a partner after being part of SJ Berwin’s partnership for 19 years. Grogan, who also chairs SJ Berwin’s corporate social responsibility committee, is expected to start in her new role next month.

The departures come a little over a month after real estate chief Jon Vivian led a four-partner team that quit to join Irwin Mitchell. The quartet also included partners Lewis Myers, Rob Thompson and Jo Footitt.

Metliss said: “BLP’s the premier real estate practice in the UK. I see a real opportunity to capitalise on an environment where clients can take advantage of a full spectrum of skills and support to develop the disputes practice further.”

Despite Grogan’s departure, SJ Berwin’s EU and competition team will not be left a partner down, with former managing partner Ralph Cohen returning to full-time fee-earning in the group after corporate partner Rob Day took over the top job last week.