Two depart Fladgates as Basingstoke office shuts

Fladgate Fielder has lost two Basingstoke-based property partners and a number of clients to Hampshire firm White & Bowker following its recent decision to close its Basingstoke office.

John Russell starts at White & Bowker's Winchester office on 1 May and John Bates will join him in the summer. White & Bowker says clients such as Digital Equipment and Persimmon Homes will follow.

Last month Fladgates announced that it would be closing the office and transferring staff to a new London office, due to open in the autumn, which will also house the staff based at its existing London headquarters.

Neither departing partner was available for comment but both are said to object to Fladgates' strategy, in particular the decision to close the Basingstoke office.

Only two weeks ago, Fladgates told the Lawyer that it hoped all four Basingstoke partners and their clients would move to the new London office.

Grahame Short, chairman of White & Bowker, said: “The experience and expertise of both these partners can only enhance the service that we can provide.”

Earlier this year Fladgates lost three property partners from the London office to Charles Russell following disagreements over strategy.

A Fladgates spokeswoman said: “When we decided to close the Basingstoke office they thought the commuting distance to London was too great.”