Vizards to join forces with Bannisters

Martin Staples, senior partner at insurance litigation specialists Vizards, is to lead 20 of the firm's partners into a merger with London insurance firm Bannisters, following an equal split of equity partners.

Staples will be senior partner and Bannisters' senior partner, Alan Bannister, will be deputy of the new firm, which will be called Vizards Staples & Bannisters and is due to launch on 1 May.

Four of Vizards equity partners, 16 salaried partners and the majority of its existing staff will join with all five Bannisters partners to concentrate on insurance and commercial work.

The remaining 10 Vizards partners will re-form under the name Vizard Oldham, concentrating on private client work, and will bring back their former senior partner, Christopher Oldham, to head up the firm. Oldham retired almost two years ago.

Vizards' eight equity partners split equally into two camps during a partners meeting on 22 October, as reported in The Lawyer.

Staples said: “We differed on strategy and direction and we thought more salaried partners should be equity partners.” He said that more equity partners would be created in the new firm.

Staples said he did not intend to appoint a managing partner, although the new firm will be managed by a team of four, including Bannisters' managing partner, Paul Greenhalgh and Vizards' financial director, Robert Chambers.