Bird & Bird confirms hire of FFW’s Abell

Bird & Bird has confirmed the arrival of Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) franchising partner Mark Abell in the newly-created position of head of franchising, licensing and multi-channel strategies, after months of wrangling over the appointment.

Abell resigned from FFW in February and was suspended from the firm’s partnership (1 February 2013) in a move which prompted Abell to turn to Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) partner Alan Watts in a dispute over his departure (19 February 2013).

He started work at Bird & Bird today (17 June).

Fellow FFW franchising partners Victoria Hobbs and Graeme Payne have moved to Bird & Bird in the interim period while the terms of Abell’s hire were still being negotiated (8 May 2013).

Abell acts for clients on franchising issues and the exploitation of IP rights, both in the UK and overseas.

He told The Lawyer when he announced his resignation from FFW that he wanted to move to a firm with a wider international presence, particularly in Asia and the Middle East.

Bird & Bird CEO David Kerr said there were “excellent synergies” between Abell’s expertise and clients and Bird & Bird’s existing IP and rights protection practice.

Abell said in a statement that Bird & Bird was the “perfect place” for him to build a leading international franchising practice.

FFW managing partner Michael Chissick said in a statement: “We confirm that Dr Mark Abell has retired from the firm after 28 years of service. We thank him for his valuable contributions to the firm over the years and wish him well in his future career.”