Welsh giant snaps up insurance team

Welsh giant Hugh James Ford Simey is expanding its office in Bristol by taking a team of insurance litigation partners from local firm Veale Wasbrough.

The firm, which is the product of a merger last year between Wales' top litigation firm Hugh James and Exeter-based Ford Simey, is one of the leading insurance firms in the South West.

It counts among its clients more than 30 insurers, including CGU, Royal & SunAlliance and Prudential.

It already has a one-partner office in Bristol, but says it has decided to expand it to full service in response to demand from insurer clients and particularly work from CGU.

The firm is taking on partners David Groves and Maureen Harvie from Veale Wasbrough to deal with the work, as well as another solicitor and a paralegal.

Hugh James senior partner Russell Jenkins says: “This is to accommodate the growth in our insurance department and general litigation in Bristol. We are doing a lot of work for CGU in Bristol at the present time.”

He says the firm is considering setting up another office out of the region, perhaps in Birmingham.

Simon Pizzey, managing partner at Veale Wasbrough, says the departure of the two partners is part of a strategic move by his firm.

He says: “Following my appointment as managing partner 18 months ago, all of the partners participated in a strategic business review.

“We decided that we wanted to invest in our substantial claimant personal injury practice, and we also decided to withdraw from defendant personal injury work for main insurers.

“We have now arranged with Hugh Jones Ford Simey for the transfer of our defendant personal injury practice.”

Veale Wasbrough is recruiting a clinical negligence partner from Plymouth firm Wolferstans.