Just weeks after Field Fisher Waterhouse lost its head of privacy Eduardo Ustaran to Hogan Lovells, the 350-lawyer UK top 40 firm has seen head of construction Alan Woolston move to West End firm Fladgate.
Woolston, who specialises in construction and engineering law, takes associate Chris Farrell with him and his arrival brings the number of partners in Fladgate’s construction and projects team to eight.
The hire comes as Fladgate pursues a strategy to build up its construction and projects team, having brought in Rosenblatt’s former head of projects, contracts and infrastructure Cathy Ley in June this year.
Meanwhile, Woolston’s departure from Field Fisher comes after Ustaran – a senior equity partner who built and led the firm’s first-tier privacy and information law group – in October joined 2527-lawyer Hogan Lovells’ global privacy and information practice to manage its European capability.
Ustaran was notably held to a 19-month notice period but it is understood that the same draconian restrictions will not apply to Woolston, who has been at the firm for five years was not an equity partner.
It’s been a turbulent time for 150-partner Field Fisher, following unsuccessful merger discussions with both Laurence Graham in June 2012 and Osborne Clarke in January this year.
The 358-lawyer firm unveiled a 3% drop in revenue this year to £95m alongside an 8% drop in profit per equity partner to £398,000. In contrast, the past financial year saw Fladgate’s PEP rise by 2% to £406,000.
Woolston said of his appointment: ‘Fladgate has an ambitious plan for its future development. This, combined with its established construction and projects team, international focus and expertise in complementary areas, provides an exciting opportunity for me to develop my practice and to build the relationships for the benefit of my clients.’