City firm Warner Cranston is taking a leading immigration partner from Kingsley Napley – the third top-flight partner it has poached this year.
Lesley Kemp is one of the top business immigration lawyers in the UK and set up the highly-regarded practice at Kingsley Napley in 1995. The department was boosted last year with the arrival of Simmons & Simmons’ corporate immigration team, led by Hilary Belchak.
Kemp’s departure leaves Kingsley Napley with two partners in the field and brings the team at Warner Cranston to two partners and three fee-earners.
Kemp refuses to name her clients, but says she acts for pharmaceutical companies, IT companies and people in the entertainment industry.
She says: “Some have indicated they would like to come with me, but only time will tell.”
Kemp says she is moving because she is ready for a change and wants to work with Peter Alfandary, the head of business immigration at Warner Cranston.
“Peter and I have known each other for a long time,” she says. “It is a question of like minds. We think the same way about the approach to clients and we both want to give them a personal service.”
Alfandary says: “We are very much a firm that is boutique and international and we are really involved in inward investment.
“This practice area fits in very well. We felt it would be very nice to join forces and boost this practice area as we are boosting all the others.”
Warner Cranston took on Peter Borrowdale, the head of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal’s defunct London office, in January and last month it poached litigation partner George Brown from Nabarro Nathanson.
Warner Cranston already acts for business immigration clients including Hitachi, TI Group and Saudi International Bank. The practice area is regarded as a good way to win clients when they first set up in the UK.
Kemp’s arrival moves the firm into the top league for corporate immigration work, alongside Kingsley Napley and CMS Cameron McKenna.