Stephenson Harwood poaches top lawyers

Stephenson Harwood has poached a top silk from a leading chambers and a shipping litigation partner from Wilde Sapte.

Leading insolvency barrister John Higham QC, who focuses on banking and finance work, will be joining from the chambers of Michael Crystal QC at 3/4 South Square.

Wilde Sapte shipping litigation partner Duncan Mc- Donald is leaving the firm he joined as a partner in 1994 from Norton Rose.

The lateral hires should bolster the firm's reputation in key practice areas including banking, litigation and shipping.

Stephenson Harwood has also announced the election of Tony Scales as the new senior partner. Scales replaces David Slade, who is moving to the firm's Greek office in Piraeus.

Scales is aiming to improve communication between the firm and its clients and is currently carrying out a survey of the firm's major clients. He says: “We are in the business of supplying a service and each client has its own expectation of the service it should receive from its lawyers.”

Scales headed up Stephenson Harwood's corporate department between 1989 and 1992 and has been a partner for 25 years. His appointment runs for a three year term.

Three unnamed candidates are understood to have run for the position, with Scales winning in the second round.