Merger fallout begins

Fallout from mergers is unavoidable. Some teams will find their roles redundant at the new firm, others will run a mile of their own accord.

But judging from the pace of change among firms so far in 2012 – think RJW, McPinsents or Herbert Smith – it’s something that we’re all going to have to get used to seeing.

The former equity partners of Vizards Wyeth, which was taken over by Weightmans in spring 2010, are experiencing some fallout of their own, facing a heated battle in the Employment Tribunal in the wake of the break-up of the firm (see story).

A family law team, which was left out of the partial takeover by Weightmans, which was only interested in Vizards’ insurance team and practices peripheral to it, are pursuing their former firm for failing to pay severance.

The four claimants – all of whom are women and two of whom are minority ethnic – also intimated at a hearing at the Ashford Employment Tribunal on 26 January that they were considering bringing sexual and racial discrimination claims against Vizards for the way that it handled their departure.

Essentially, Vizards partners argued that they didn’t have to pay severance to the team because they got an offer to join DWF: a firm that will probably be keeping a close eye on the proceedings for more than one reason.