Halliwells’ Sheffield-based insurance team will transfer to Kennedys along with partner David Fearon, who joined the firm in 2004 to launch its construction practice.
Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured) said: “I can confirm we’re in talks with Halliwells.”
It is understood that the eight partners, including former office head Suzanne Liversidge, resigned earlier this week. Liversidge will lead Kennedys Sheffield venture.
The aim is to transfer the team under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (Tupe), according to a source close to the deal.
In addition to the eight partners, Kennedys will take a staff of 62, which includes 45 lawyers, from Halliwells. It is believed the firm is in negotiations to acquire Halliwells’ Sheffield premises despite Halliwells partners still being based there.
Halliwells denied that talks about the office space are taking place.
The other partners set to join Kennedys are Cameron Clark, Judith Bloor, Helen Snowball, Niall Edwards, Greg Woods and Heidi Swale.
A spokesperson for Halliwells said: “We can confirm that a team of insurance lawyers will be leaving the firm to join Kennedys. Halliwells retains a strong multi-disciplinary practice in Sheffield covering insurance and healthcare, corporate, real estate, employment and construction.”
Halliwells has suffered several partner departures this year. In November Plexus Law took a partner trio from the firm’s Manchester practice to launch its office in the city (9 November 2009).
Mayfair firm Forsters bolstered its tax team with the hire of partner Elizabeth Small (5 October 2009), while DWF took on corporate partners Frank Shepherd and James Sheridan and commercial partner Craig Chaplin, who will launch its Manchester office next year (18 September 2009).
Manches was also in talks to acquire parts of Halliwells, but it is believed that the firm withdrew from talks after its family practice blocked the move (17 September 2009).