Stones swallows fellow Exeter practice

FOURTEEN-partner commercial Exeter firm Stones is swallowing up its five-partner neighbour Cann & Hallett.

David Cox, practice manager at Canns, said the main reason for the move was the “tremendous competition” in the region.

The new firm Stones Cann & Hallett will have 16 partners and 40 other fee earners, and will have offices in Exeter and Okehampton.

Cox admitted there would be redundancies as a result of the merger but said that the firms had agreed to keep them to a maximum of five.

Only two of Cann & Hallett's partners Nick Dyer and Jeremy Browne will become equity partners in the merged firm, but one will have a place on the management board.

The future of salaried partner David Brock is uncertain and it is thought unlikely that he will be joining the new firm.

The two remaining Cann & Hallett partners will change status. Robin Challans will become a consultant and Zara Svenson an associate.

Stones' managing partner Hugh Winterbotham said his firm had been looking for a merger partner for some time.