Kennedys secures Hill Dickinson team as panel review loss prompts Sheffield office closure

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Kennedys is hiring a 24-person Sheffield personal injury team from Hill Dickinson, as the latter firm closes down in the city.

The three-partner team is led by partners Alan Dury, Suzanne Wilkinson and Paul Bedford and also comprises 21 legal and support staff. Bedford is joining Kennedys as a partner but is currently a legal director at Hill Dickinson.

All of the partners joined Hill Dickinson in 2013 from DLA Piper, where they specialised in defending casualty, disease and catastrophic injury matters.

Hill Dickinson’s chief operating officer Iain Johnston said the Sheffield closure was prompted by the firm’s failure to secure a panel appointment for a significant client of the team. The firm declined to name the client, however Kennedys is understood to have been appointed to the client’s roster.

Johnston said: “The decision to close the office is based on a Sheffield client’s recent panel review. As a result, we decided that it was best for our client if we made an agreement with Kennedys. However, we are committed to our growth strategy.”

Kennedys launched in Sheffield in 2010 with a 60-person team from legacy Halliwells, when that firm went into administration. The office now houses 122 people, excluding the Hill Dickinson team.

The office, which specialises in insurance, commercial and real estate, is led by partner Suzanne Liversidge.

Kennedys senior partner, Nick Thomas, said: “[The team] come with excellent reputations and strong client relationships that fit with our insurance and claims strategy. Their appointments significantly complement our local expertise in the north and reinforce our appetite for attracting top talent.

“Not only do we share the same clients, which makes this a fantastic fit, Kennedys’ international network is a distinct advantage for the team.”

Kennedys recently hired another Hill Dickinson partner when it appointed Paula Garvey into its Manchester office.

The insurance firm has also been expanding internationally and last year opened in Chile and Colombia.

Already this year, the firm launched a formal association with Italian firm Studio Legale Rinaldi Associati and opened a new office in Mexico, complementing the string of South America office openings in 2016.