Salans sees seven partners quit for US firm's London launch

Salans is to lose a seven-partner team from its London office to Locke Lord, as the Texan firm moves to launch its first permanently staffed base in Europe.

Salans global banking chief and former global chair Stephen Finch, who stepped down as chairman in January 2010 after five years in the role, is among a raft of partners to resign from Salans’ London office last week.

The rest of the team comprises London real estate head Daniel Polden, consumer finance partners Paula Howard and Bill McCaffrey, consumer finance litigation partner Kevin Heath, corporate partner Graham Spitz and restructuring partner David Grant, who joined Salans in May 2010 from failed firm Halliwells.

Banking consultant and global cards and payment head Robert Courtneidge and restructuring consultant Jim Varley are also set to join Locke Lord. Salans former global managing partner Roger Abrahams, now of counsel, is also understood to be joining Locke Lord.Abrahams, who stepped down from Salans’ partnership in May, is set to have an international development role at the US firm and is expected to drive further European expansion.

Commenting on the launch Finch said: “After 22 years at Salans, it is time for a new challenge. Locke Lord is a great firm, it’s entrepreneurial, it’s expanding and it has a lot of UK work that needs to be serviced. The firm is looking to expand in further in London and I have no doubt they will be able to achieve that – this is certainly a good starting point.”

A Salans spokesperson said in a statement: “We recognise that it’s a part of life that at different times people will want to come and go or change what they are doing. It’s an integral part of the business cycle and offers opportunities for fresh resources and ideas.

“The London office remains focused on its core practice areas of corporate, disputes, restructuring, and banking and finance, supported by teams in employment, real estate, shipping, competition and intellectual property.”

Locke Lord has had a London base for some time but no full-time lawyers in the office. The launch will mark Locke Lord’s first office in Europe and it will sit alongside offices in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington.