To the lifeboats! Women and Senior Partners first!

Ince Gordon Dadds' Senior Partner, Julian Clark, is leaving the firm.

Clark has quit for a role at Gard, the Norwegian marine insurance business.

The firm said he had reached the end of his three year contract and that he was leaving "with our best wishes".

Following his departure, Ince has decided to phase out the role of Senior Partner, so that the listed firm will have a Managing Partner, currently Jennette Newman, and a Group CEO, currently Donald Brown.

“Michael Volikas continues to lead Ince’s 130-strong, market-leading, global maritime team, one of many sector specialisms we offer around the world", the firm told RollOnFriday.

Newman emailed the firm with the news last night after ROF approached for comment.

Clark was Ince’s Senior Partner for three years, having previously served as Hill Dickinson’s Global Head of Shipping. Newman reassured staff that his departure was actually a good thing, as he was was now “a potential client”.

Despite the PR gloss, his decision to not just step down but jump ship entirely doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Newman alluded to the firm’s myriad difficulties in her all-staff email in which she said that Ince was pulling together as a team “as we emerge from what has been a busy and challenging period”.

The most pressing challenge for the listed company is currently its shares, which have been suspended since December.

Ince has breezed past multiple self-set deadlines to produce its accounts, which are required for trading to restart.

Sources close to Ince’s management say it’s all the fault of its auditors, BDO, and that some of BDO's other clients are also experiencing delays.

It is not clear who is to blame for Ince’s failure to notify the market that Newman was holding one million shares in the company. In February the firm was required to make a corrective announcement disclosing the shareholding and explaining that it “had previously been omitted in error”.

A gloomy source predicted that Clark’s departure was “surely the final nail in the coffin of Ince”.

ROF disagrees. The firm must have hit every iceberg there is by now, meaning it’s surely plain sailing from here on out. As such, our unregulated, unqualified, no-liability tip is to buy the dip as soon as Ince shares begin trading again. Which, given the firm has said it expects to publish its financial results “in early March”, will be any day now. 

Tip Off ROF


Cat with nine lives 10 March 23 08:14

Surely all lives are used up. But then this could just be the tip of the iceberg. Show us the financials Donnie!

Dubai Duffer 10 March 23 08:14


He was formally "Gluuurbal" Senior Partner at Ince, having been "Gluuurbal" Head of Shipping at HD.    

Goodness knows what his job title will be at Gard - Gluuurbal Musician and Part-time Claims guy"?

They’re under starters orders 10 March 23 08:29

RoF’s Listed Law Firm Handicap Hurdle


Over to the ghost of Peter O’Sullevan, the finest commentator to have ever lived.


And they’re off,

Keystone hits the front, an early leader, stretching out the field.

Rosenblatt is tucked in behind, DWF, lucky to be there at all, has got off to a good start.

Knights follows Gateley with Ince bringing up the rear.

Everybody is just about over the second fence cleanly but DWF is already falling away.  Keystone still out in front with Gateley and Knights making good progress.  

Over the third fence and this is where the weight of debt begins to take its toll.  Ince and Knights are labouring, DWF appears to have lost its way and you do question the wisdom of such a late change of jockey, it doesn’t seem to have helped at all.  

On dear, a half lion half fish creature has run out in front of Rosenblatt and knocked it off its stride.

They’re all over the fourth but Rosenblatt has been badly affected and needs to get back to what it does best.

They’re over the fifth fence and this proves that class is permanent, Keystone is streaking away, it won’t be beaten.  Gateley is staying on strongly, the others not so, you do question whether they will all finish this one. 

Coming into the final fence, Keystone is continuing to build its lead and is over cleanly.  Gateley is next, sure footed as ever.  Knights crashes through that one and loses ground, its debt burden seems to be weighing heavily and it looks out of sorts.  DWF is over it and its jockey, much maligned for too much wip, seems to be struggling to convert the wip to get DWF into the business end of any race, let alone this one.  

We are coming into the home straight, Keystone has won this at a canter.  Strong Buy.  

Oh dear, Ince has been pulled up by its rider, it has had 3 goes at getting over the final fence and it all became a bit too embarrassing. Oh no, it looks like the covers are being put around Ince.  Poor Ince, nothing much goes right for it but let’s get back to the action and hope that Ince will be okay. 

Gateley has stayed on well to take second.  Nothing fancy, the usual workmanlike performance, a “stayer” but it lacks a turn of pace to challenge a group 1 competitor like Keystone.  Hold 

Rosenblatt has got back to the fundamentals and is finishing strongly, one to watch next time out. Buy

DWF and Knights, it’s hard to split them, their share prices are a long way from their best, they are neck and neck but DWF’s better pedigree and positioning is starting to show and it beats Knights by a short head.  DWF must do better, it’s been tipped by the newspapers and a lot of money has been wagered but it has done nothing to convince investors and you do question whether there’s more value in breaking it up.  Hold.

Knights looks absolutely exhausted, a shadow of its early meteoric form.  You do wonder whether it’s majority shareholder’s heart is still in it and whether it can be trained back into contention.  The market seems not to think so and market rumours suggest that there are some very serious problems which are not being addressed.  Unlike DWF there’s no value in a break up and it’s hard to see Knights rekindling it’s former share price glory.  Strong Sell.  

A final word on Ince, after a catastrophic loss of form and being pulled up, I’m pleased to confirm it was saved on the course but it remains touch and go.  You do wonder whether it will ever get its house in order and run again.  Worth a bet?  Well I’m afraid you can’t because all betting on Ince has been suspended whilst its accountants investigate what’s been going on.  Strong Sell (if you ever get the chance). 

Join us next week for the Managing Partner’s Handicap Hurdle based on RoF’s imperious Golden Turd survey results.

Tally ho.  

Street fighter 10 March 23 08:34

If Ince were a character in a Street Fighter, the opponent would have the words "FINISH HIM!" at the top of the screen.

US associate 10 March 23 08:41

Ropes and Milbank have increased NQ pay and have handed out special bonuses to associates to recognise their hard work

Ahem 10 March 23 09:08

I think you will find the DWF share price is surging above the Knights share price.  There’s really no comparison between the two.  One is a behemoth with quality clients and people.  The other is an assembly of back street regional third raters.

See where we both are in a year’s time.  

Mortal Kombat 10 March 23 09:18

Street fighter 10 March 23 08:34 - I think you're referencing Mortal Kombat there.... I should get out more.

Scep Tick 10 March 23 10:29

Clark has quit for a role at Gard, the Norwegian marine insurance business.

Perfect, sounds like he has a lot of experience in dealing with sinking ships.

George Graham 10 March 23 11:30

Why on earth would any of them be a buy, apart from Keystone which has a different model from the others?

The equity has been cashed out and so all of these firms must, necessarily, offer worse than market terms to their partners. Who will leave. And the next generation have no prospect of owning the business.

The share prices tell a sorry tale of greed and failure. The only surprise is that Gateley hasn't crashed like the others.

Look at what's happening at EY - partners announce they will try to cash out the next generation, who are duly quitting in droves, and the whole sh1tshow may collapse anyway.

innocent bystander 10 March 23 11:32

As an avid follower of both marine insurance and shipping law firms, I happen to know Julian is a former pro keyboards player and Gard's chief exec plays saxophone in the style of Clarence Clemmons from Bruce Springsteen's backing band. So if nothing else, the jams could be epic.

Pedant 10 March 23 12:40

As a solicitor and therefore a pedant about typos and inconsistencies which make me itch until I correct them - I feel compelled to point out that you would see “Finish Him” at the end of a bout in Mortal Kombat (not Street Fighter)

Dubai Duffer Pt 2 12 March 23 13:53

@Dubai Duffer 08:14 -- you appear to have a chip on your shoulder when it comes to Julian Clark's musical background. Despite your unhealthy preoccupation with his extracurriculars, he's one the of the most accomplished and respected lawyers in his field and he was regarded as one of the "good guys" at Ince. I will miss Julian's kindness and support and I wish him all the best in his new role. I shudder to think what Ince will become now that the private equity vultures have fully consolidated the their takeover of the firm. Next steps: increase share price, sell the business off for parts, Donnie will cash out ASAP, Jeannette will be left with her little insurance fiefdom, and they'll leave the rest of us out to dry. 

Not so pedant 12 March 23 20:30

Pedant, my dear friend, if you were truly pedantic you would have noticed that this point had been made already...

Je Suis Monty Don l'Autobus 16 March 23 14:28

LOL @ the above horseracing thing, although nb DWF is the best actual law firm, at doing law, mentioned in the piece by some distance.

Related News