Field Fisher takes ex-partner to court
Legal Week Reports
Field Fisher Waterhouse is locked in a dispute with its former head of trademarks, Barbara Cookson.Field Fisher launched legal action to enforce the firm’s restrictive covenants shortly after highly-rated Cookson’s departure from the firm in March this year.At a hearing earlier this month, Mr Justice Gage granted an injunction, pending a full trial.On leaving Field Fisher, Cookson set up her own company – Filemot Technology Law – but she joined Nabarro Nathanson two weeks ago.It is understood the two firms’ managing partners were attempting to resolve the dispute as Legal Week went to press.Industry sources claimed Cookson left after falling out with former SJ Berwin & Co partner John Olsen, who joined Field Fisher with a team of lawyers in April 1999. Field Fisher instructed Herbert Smith partner David Gold, assisted by Adam Tudor, on bringing the action.Cookson, who turned to McDermott Will & Emery employment partner David Dalgarno, refused to comment on the legal action or why she left.She said: “A friendly settlement is very much what I am after.”Field Fisher practice development partner Mark Abell said the firm “wished Barbara well”. He denied her departure was a blow to the trademark team, which the firm has marketed as the largest one-stop shop in the UK, adding that it had made more European Community trademark filings last year than every other practice except Clifford Chance.“The firm’s one-stop shop continues to grow and has recently recruited four new trademark lawyers,” Abell said.Leading partnership lawyers said it was rare for firms to take former partners to court over restrictive covenants. One commented: “There is a lot of huffing and puffing, but usually no action.”
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