FFW announces reduced promo round as two partners exit

Field Fisher Waterhouse has witnessed the departure of two further partners from its IP practice.

Data protection and privacy partner Stewart Room has departed to join PwC Legal, while the firm’s trademark chief Mark Holah has exited for Bird & Bird

In his new role, Holah will be reunited with Field Fisher’s former franchising head Mark Abell and franchising partners Victoria Hobbs and Graeme Payne who joined Bird & Bird last spring (8 May 2013). He will also work alongside former Field Fisher IP partner Allan Poulter who made the same move in October 2012. 

Room, a dual qualified barrister and solicitor, will lead PwC Legal’s new cyber and data security offering. 

The firm also confirmed that four associates have resigned from the firm’s privacy and information team, following in the footsteps of group head Eduardo Ustaran who quit the firm for Hogan Lovells last October and is currently on gardening leave (10 October 2013). 

It has recruited an additional four associates to fill the gaps. 

The departures are the latest in a string of exits from the firm’s renowned IP, technology, and franchising groups. Other notable partner exits since October 2012 include public procurement specialist Andrew Lucas (2 October 2012) and franchising partner Babette Marzheuser-Wood who both joined Dentons, and technology partner Neil Wallis who left to head up the commercial and IP branch of Dixons Retail’s in-house team. 

According to the firm’s website, following the departures it has 38 partners remaining within its global franchising, IP, privacy and information and technology and outsourcing practices. Of these, 24 are based in FFW’s London office. 

FFW’s managing partner Michael Chissick revealed last week that the firm intends to re-jig the areas on which it chooses to focus its IP efforts. Rather than rebuilding its franchising practice following the departure of Abell, Hobbs, Payne and Marzheuser-Wood, it plans to reinforce the firm’s existing IP, privacy and technology offerings (4 April 2014). 

The firm is also set to make up five new partners as of 1 May 2014, which marks the lowest number of promotions at the firm in recent years. In both 2013 and 2012 it added six new partners, while nine were made up the previous year (28 March 2013). 

This year, all five new partners are housed in the firm’s City office. Two reside within the firm’s trademarks team, one works in its public regulatory group, while one specialises in risk and another in corporate. 

The promotions will bring the total number of partners at the firm up to 157. Of these, 21 have been recruited since January 2013.

The firm has also been bulking up its real estate practice, hiring Hunton & Williams’ property partner Thelma Marshall and real estate litigator Owen Talfan Davies over the past month. Talfan Davies, who was formerly a senior associate at Ashurst, joined the firm as a partner. 

FFW is due to relocate into a new office building on the City’s Swan Lane next month, simultaneously unveiling a new website. As part of the facelift, the firm plans to drop the Waterhouse part of its official name from its branding, becoming known purely as Field Fisher.