Cripps Harries Hall hires former Brachers managing partner

Property-focused Kent firm Cripps Harries Hall has raided regional rival Brachers for its former managing partner.

Philip Cunningham joined Cripps’ corporate finance team earlier this week, after exiting Maidstone-based firm Brachers in May. Cunningham recently advised on the £18m sale of Power Efficiency to Balfour Beatty, as well as on the €70m sale of Kent Pharmaceuticals to DCC healthcare.

Brachers named employment partner Joanna Worby, a long-standing member of the managing board, as Cunningham’s successor.

Cripps has also had a recent change of management, with Gavin Tyler taking the managing partner baton from longstanding head Jonathan Denny on 1 May.

Cunningham’s hire is part of Cripps’ effort to increase its corporate revenue to match the total generated by its key real estate and private client offerings. In July, the firm entered into merger talks with Kent-based firm Vertex Law in a bid to grow the practice.

Seven-partner Vertex, which has a year end of 30 September, has a projected turnover of around £4m – two thirds of which is generated by corporate and commercial work. The tie-up will go live at the end of September (17 July 2013).

Cunningham said in a statement: “I have a lot of respect for both parties to the merger. The combined firm will have an exceptional corporate and commercial offering, acting for a diverse and high calibre client base. I look forward to working with the team to strengthen that presence even further.”

Both turnover and net profit dipped slightly at Cripps in 2012/13, revenue by 2.2 per cent from £18.3m to £17.9m and net profit by 2.9 per cent, from £5.1m to £4.95m.