Pinsent Curtis axes insurance lawyers

Four partners and 11 fee-earners made redundant from professional indemnity team

Pinsent Curtis Biddle has axed four partners and 11 other lawyers from its London, Birmingham and Leeds offices.
The redundancies are all in the professional indemnity group of the firm's insurance and reinsurance department, which was heavily reliant on work for the now defunct Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF). The lawyers will not leave immediately, but will be phased out over the next nine months. The redundancies were announced internally last Friday (14 December).
Four partners are being dropped from the firm's 11-partner insurance and reinsurance group: Anson Game, Ashleigh Bradford, Nicola Vickers and Karen Eckstein.
Game is based in London and was the head of the firm's insurance and reinsurance group, a position from which he has just stepped down. He has more than 20 years experience of the London insurance market, with particular emphasis on civil litigation and dispute resolution. According to a source close to the firm, Game, as a group head, is very likely to be an equity partner.
Vickers, who is also based in London, acts mostly on solicitors' professional indemnity matters. Eckstein is based in Leeds and specialises in tax-related professional negligence claims against solicitors and accountants. Bradford is based in Birmingham. Before he joined Pinsents, he was involved in the formation and the setting up of SIF.
Pinsents has also asked 11 fee-earners, who are mostly assistant solicitors based in London and Birmingham, to leave the firm. Senior partner Julian Tonks attributes the redundancies to the demise of SIF rather than the economic climate.
“This is a result of a strategy review of this side of our business,” said Tonks. “We see the result as inevitable and a result of the changes in the professional indemnity market related to the end of SIF.
“In the first six months of the year, billing was up by 13 per cent on this time last year. We have no plans for redundancies in any other part of the business.”
A source close to the firm said that, although SIF-related redundancies were inevitable, the partners and assistants could have been reasonably deployed elsewhere. Tonks denied that this was the case, as the lawyers in the group had spent most of their careers doing SIF-related work.