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Eversheds Newcastle office is to hand over its private client practice to north-east firm Hay & Kilner. Ten fee earners, including consultant and former partner John Luke, and three support staff will move on 2 September. Existing Hay & Kilner private client head Keith Hately will lead the new team. All but two members of the Eversheds private client team will make the move. Head of department Lucy Winskell, who specialises in dispute resolution, will remain with Eversheds to build up the dispute management practice. A second fee-earner, Jean Sharp, will remain with the employment and pensions team. Eversheds Newcastle partner Michael Spriggs said initial reactions had been positive, both from the client base and from the members of the private client team. However, a number of Eversheds’ clients are thought to be unhappy with the transfer and are said to be looking to move elsewhere.The Eversheds Newcastle private client practice suffered a major blow last year when partner and head of department Helen Tavroges left for top Tyneside firm Dickinson Dees, taking a number of clients with her.Spriggs said the practice was being moved to allow the firm to concentrate on mainstream corporate/commercial work. He added that the move is part of a firm-wide Eversheds strategy to concentrate its private client practice in a limited number of centres. He said: “In Newcastle we felt our private client base would be better served by a firm which wants to invest in and expand its private client practice.”Hay & Kilner, which also has branch offices in Gosforth and Wallsend, works primarily in the commercial and insurance litigation sectors. Its private client work, which currently brings in around 25% of its total fee income, includes family law and probate, trusts, wills, and domestic conveyancing. Eversheds Newcastle, which has 36 partners, is to move to new premises in Newcastle’s Central Square in early 2002.

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