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Ashurst Morris Crisp has poached Hammond Suddards Edge’s London managing partner Gary Watson. Property partner Watson will help to re-establish Ashurst’s property department, which has suffered a number of partner and assistant losses over the past year. Most notably, partner Guy Wheatcroft has resigned to begin his own property development company. His resignation shortly followed that of fellow partner Charles Leach. In addition, 10 assistants have left the department during the past year. Watson will join former managing partner Ian Nisse, who has returned to fee earning in the department. His arrival will increase the property partners to 11. Head of property Simon Cookson says, “We are delighted to welcome Gary to the practice; his decision to join the firm is proof positive of our sound reputation as first-class practitioners of real estate law. “Gary has a strong reputation and the breadth of his expertise sits very well with the scope of advice that we are able to offer to our clients.” Watson’s departure will have come as a blow to Hammond coming so soon after the highly publicized merger in August. A spokesman for Hammond said the firm has no comment.

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