Stones Porter exodus continues

Leading housing association partner Chris Smith has become the latest in a series of partners to leave City firm Stones Porter in the past 18 months.

Smith is joining the London office of Maclay Murray & Spens where he will be reunited with another ex-Stones Porter partner, Chris Woodruff, who moved there last September to lead the firm's London litigation practice.

In November 1996 Stones Porter saw commercial property partners Tim Westhead and Martyn Needham, together with two assistants, leave to join Olswang.

Since then the firm has also lost private client partner Stephen Gallico. It has dropped from 13 to nine partners.

Commenting on Smith's move, Stones Porter senior partner Hugh Edmunds said that it was “perfectly amicable.”

Edmunds added that the firm had now withdrawn from housing association work.

At the same time as taking on Smith, Maclays has signed up corporate specialist Philip Owen from Allen & Overy, where he was a senior partner.

Owen said that after 25 years at A&O he was “ready for a change”. He added that he had been brought in by Maclays to “add a bit of grey hair” to the London corporate team because the existing corporate lawyers were all young.

The arrival of Owen and Smith brings the total number of partners at Maclays' London office to five with 15 additional fee earners.

Maclays managing partner Michael Walker said: “Philip and Chris both bring with them a wealth of experience and I'm confident they will make a valuable contribution to the development of the London team.”