The man behind HowardKennedyFsi, the most clumsily-named law firm in the City, told his partners this morning that he was resigning.

Mark Dembovsky was CEO of Howard Kennedy, charged with dragging a troubled firm into the 21st century. He took over management responsibility from Trevor Newey, a Senior Partner who chose to absent himself from the office on the day that staff were told that 15% of them would be made redundant. The firm lost its entire Media Department and a huge chunk of its Real Estate Department.

Dembovsky tried to float the sinking ship by merging with Finers Stephens Innocent and wielding the knife - 10% of the partnership was hived off in February last year, followed by up to ten support staff last November and up to seven fee earners in September. Despite Dembovsky promising that the firm would be hiring rather than firing.


And now he is jumping ship to join them. The reasons for his departure are unknown, but apparently he's not moving to another job. Two members of the firm's managment committee will take over his responsibilities.

Dembovsky leaves behind a firm that is making some money, although not as much as it should. It posted income of £40.6m after the merger, compared with combined income of £45.4m in the previous year. And insiders say that partners are still split between the legacy firms and are constantly bickering with each other. Still, at least the firm has survived, as the Abbé de Sieyes noted of himself when he was asked what he did during the French revolution. And that might not have been the case had Dembovsky not undertaken his own few years of the Terror.