Nine staff quit McGrigors over conflict of interest

A NINE-strong legal team has left McGrigors to join rival Eversheds weeks ahead of the Scottish law firm’s merger with Pinsent Masons.

The Manchester-based construction team, led by McGrigors’ Manchester office head David Moss, has left due to a conflict of interest on legal cases arising from the merger.

According to trade sources, the McGrigors construction and energy team have represented a number of large clients that Eversheds also acts for including United Utilities and Balfour Beatty.

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A spokesman for McGrigors said the team had “made a significant contribution” since they had joined the company in August 2010 and the firm “wished them well in their future careers”.

McGrigors and Eversheds had been linked to a possible merger deal in 2007.

Despite the loss of the Manchester team, the combined construction team at the merged Pinsent Masons will have about 250 lawyers compared to the current McGrigors’ complement of 30.

It is not thought there are other departures in the pipeline despite speculation at the time of the merger announcement that it may prompt a number of movements of staff and teams to other firms.

Last week McGrigors’ senior partner Kirk Murdoch, who becomes Scotland and Northern Ireland chairman of the new firm, told Scotland on Sunday the merger had been driven by clients of both firms requiring a greater depth of skills and specialisms.

Pinsent Masons, as the combined firm will be known, is four times the size of McGrigors, but Murdoch insisted that McGrigors will not be diminished by the tie-up despite the headquarters moving to London, the name disappearing and the majority of senior posts being taken by the Pinsent Masons partners.

Murdoch, whose new position was predicted last month in The Scotsman, said three of the nine-member board will be from McGrigors’ senior team. He said neither firm needed the merger “other than to grow”. He becomes a non-executive director, as does another as yet undisclosed colleague. Managing partner Richard Masters will be director of client operations.