Firm broken up after failing to secure indemnity insurance

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14 October 2013

Hudgell: London base

Harris Cartier – a 26-lawyer niche litigation and corporate practice with offices in London and Slough – has become the first firm to be placed into administration following the failure to arrange professional indemnity insurance for 1 October.

The joint administrators, Zolfo Cooper, sold its clinical negligence practice to highly acquisitive firm Neil Hudgell Solicitors, with the rest moving to Mayfair law firm Gordon Dadds.

Steve Cottee, the partner at Pinsent Masons acting for the administrators, said the firm went into administration on late Friday afternoon having been unable to secure funding for its insurance premium.

The clinical negligence book had a seven-figure valuation, according to Neil Hudgell Solicitors, mostly made up of high-value and catastrophic injury work. It will also give the firm a presence in London for the first time.

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Managing director Neil Hudgell said: “The acquisition from Harris Cartier is part of our wider and on-going growth strategy. The establishment of a London base is also fundamental to our plans and has been on the radar for a while.  We will now be actively seeking premises in the capital and staff with a view to be open by the end of the month.

“We anticipate that the acquisition from Harris Cartier will also be a prelude to further deals as other firms fail to obtain PI insurance cover and seek to dispose of work.”

Up to this point, his firm has spent £4m on 20 deals with cumulative work-in-progress (WIP) of around £10m, including the purchase of four legal practices, doubling the headcount in the process to around 110. It recently with national firm Simpson Millar to broaden the range of both firms’ acquisition targets.

Eight solicitors have joined Gordon Dadds across company and commercial, private client, and commercial litigation and property law.

Adrian Biles, managing partner at Gordon Dadds, said: “Gordon Dadds is expanding and evolving. This is an exciting time for the firm. We are delighted to welcome our new colleagues and look forward to working alongside them.”

The firm recently launched Gordon Dadds Consulting, which offers a wide range of risk management and compliance, HR and actuarial consulting services.

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