Theodore Goddard has been hit by two further departures in the torrent of partner defections that has hit the firm since the collapse of the Salans merger talks last year

Corporate partners Graham Stedman and Paul Salmon are joining Salans hot on the heels of employment team Peter Cooke and Jane Bullen (The Lawyer, 2 December). Stedman and Salmon’s departures come in the same week that top banking partners Michael Black and Jayesh Patel announced their moves to Denton Wilde Sapte.

The moves take the number of partner departures since the merger collapse to 14, many from the corporate department.

Black, understood to be one of the firm’s top billers, at just 32, is head of banking. Stedman, a former head of corporate, was in the running for the managing partner role when Cooke stepped down at the beginning of the year.

Both Stedman and Salmon had been with the firm since 1995, when they arrived from Mischon de Reya. The pair specialise in corporate transactions and technology law.

The defections highlight the turmoil surrounding the merger. The Lawyer understands Patel had been opp-osed to Theodores’ previous merger possibilities, while Cooke, a former managing partner, is understood to have been a great proponent of the Salans tie-up.

Theodores could not be contacted for comment. Salans declined to comment.