Martineaus overhauls property department

Birmingham firm Martineau Johnson has restructured its property department following the departures of two partners.

Martineaus is losing Barry Sankey, the former head of its property development group, to Browne Jacobson. Joanna Lawson-King left the firm for Pinsent Curtis in October 1999.

David Gwyther, managing partner at Martineaus, says: “In March last year Barry had a disagreement with the firm, as a result of which he gave an indication that he wanted to leave. Since last April he’s been running down his practice and handing over client work, so he hasn’t been the head of any part of the property function for a year.”

Partner Simon Arrowsmith, who has been increasingly involved with the property department since Sankey made the decision to leave, will now take control of this part of the practice.

Arrowsmith has recruited 10 solicitors to the group in the last 10 months, bringing the team to six partners and 30 lawyers.

“We didn’t feel we needed to look for resources at partner level. We felt we should concentrate on building the various teams,” says Gwyther.

Sankey joins Browne Jacobson as a partner in the Birmingham office which was opened in May last year.

His appointment is the latest in a series of lateral hires by Browne Jacobson, including taking the deputy head of banking and insolvency at Pinsent Curtis in Leeds, Beachcroft Wansbroughs’ former head of health litigation Gay Wilder and former head of Davies Arnold Cooper’s professional indemnity acc-ountants group Fidelma Back.

The firm now has almost 50 partners with the Birmingham office growing to two partners and a total of 15 fee-earners.

Martineaus is also understood to be undertaking a programme of partner and internal restructuring.