DLA Piper is understood to be losing four partners from its Manchester office to rival Irwin Mitchell.
All four are real estate specialists. The group is thought to include Manchester property head Anita Weightman and former local managing partner Roy Beckett.
A spokesperson for DLA Piper said none of the four had resigned but would make no further comment. Irwin Mitchell could not be reached.
The past few months have been a turbulent period for DLA Piper’s regional office network, best illustrated by the long-running row over the personal stakes taken by several partners including co-chief executive Sir Nigel Knowles in ABS LawVest.
It is understood that as well as the anger internally caused by a presumably select group of partners taking stakes in LawVest at the exclusion of others, there was also a fear that DLA Piper would cannibalise its own lower-value work stream around the UK in favour of feeding work to LawVest.
Compounding this worry for regional partners, earlier this year DLA Piper launched a review of its practice including an assessment of its office network and partner performance (1 June 2012).