West-end firm Davenport Lyons has been put into administration and sold to Mayfair neighbour Gordon Dadds.

All but four of the firm's 30-odd partners have secured new jobs at Gordon Dadds. But while the firm's six trainees are  being taken on, most staff have not been so lucky. Over 50 of them are now facing redundancy. And unlike their masters, who were in secret talks with Gordon Dadds for weeks, they only discovered Davenport Lyons was closing last Friday, the day administrators were appointed.

     A Davenport Lyons partner yesterday

Eight-partner Gordon Dadds has experience taking over cratered rivals. In 2013 it bought Harris Cartier when the medical negligence firm went bust, which Senior Partner Roger Peters described as a "dry run" for Davenport Lyons. He said the takeover had gone as "seamlessly as possible". So seamlessly that TUPE, to the surprise of some insiders, is not being applied to the transferred staff. Peters denied that Davenport Lyons' partners appear to have been more concerned with feathering their own nests than working to save the firm, telling RollOnFriday it was "not a fair comment at all".

Meanwhile, Davenport Lyons CEO Richard Williams is one of the few partners who has not got a shiny new job at Gordon Dadds. Which probably suits his old employees just fine. In the weeks leading up to their surprise demise he insisted, "I want my staff to know what’s going on - they are my biggest asset”. He also promised “the only reason we’d go into administration is if it was planned as part of a deal with a much larger firm”. Just before going into adminstration planned as part of a deal with, err, a much smaller firm.
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