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Insurance practice Kennedys has restated its desire to find a merger partner, after recruiting five partners and a senior solicitor to its insurance litigation team.The spate of hirings has seen the insurance team bolstered by the arrival of partners from Dibb Lupton Alsop, niche practice Lloyd Cooper, and Lawrence Graham.Kennedys chairman Stephen Cantle said that the recruitment drive formed part of a strategy to provide an all-round service for insurance companies.“Insurance companies expect a complete service from lawyers and they look to the panel solicitors for that service,” he said. Last March, Kennedys withdrew from merger talks with Liverpool firm Weightmans and Newcastle firm Jacksons. Cantle said the firm would still consider a merger in response to the wave of consolidation that has swept through the industry. He said: “We are not currently in talks, but we are always on the look-out for people that could bring something more to the practice.” He added that he “wouldn’t deny” the firm had been in merger talks with Clyde & Co, although he said that the talks did not progress beyond a preliminary stage.Among the new recruits are two insurance partners from Dibb Lupton Alsop, Christopher Sharrock and Christina Jabri, as well as senior assistant solicitor David Sullivan.Two partners from Lloyd Cooper, Laurence Gilford and Michael Lawrence, will form their own team at Kennedys’ insurance litigation department. They leave Lloyd Cooper with just two partners. Peter Lloyd-Cooper said the firm hoped to replace Gilford and Lawrence, saying their defection was a sign of the times. “Big insurance companies are increasingly not placing work with smaller firms. It is the way the market is moving.” Partner John Graham joined Kennedys in January from Lawrence Graham. The rest of the recruits are expected to join the firm in April.

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