Withers picks up Lovells portfolio

NEWLY-MERGED Withers has been revealed as the firm to take over the private client and trust portfolio of City neighbours Lovell White Durrant.

Withers has recruited one Lovells private client partner, Charles Pike, as a partner, but the second, Hugh Henshaw, will retire next April.

Three other fee earners also make the move to Withers – solicitor Christopher King and legal executive Susan Dempsey in the private client department and David Baldwin in property.

Lovells signalled the move out of private client work in May and said it was in talks with a number of firms which were interested in taking over the department.

Withers, which merged with Italian specialist Mackenzie Mills two months ago, said it now had an impressive private client base to complement a healthy mixed practice.

Cavan Taylor, Lovells senior partner, said: “It is increasingly difficult for a major commercial firm to devote the necessary resources to develop a private client, tax planning and trust practice.

“We therefore decided to identify a leading firm which could take over this work, including the staff.”

He added that Pike, who will move next month, would be “greatly missed”.

Brian Stevens, senior partner at Withers, said: “We already have one of the leading private client practices in the UK. Their arrival will strengthen our practice still further.”

Farrer & Co have taken on Vanessa Reburn and Diana Davidson, who were senior solicitors in Lovells' private client department.

Henry Boyd-Carpenter, head of Farrer's private client practice, said he expected the department to “grow steadily in the years ahead”.

Since the late 1980s, larger City law firms have switched emphasis from private client work to commercial trust, usually transferring the department to other firms.