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Law firm collapses as Professional Indemnity cover fails 15 October 2013

London law boutique Harris Cartier Limited has become the first law firm to enter administration as a result of new professional indemnity laws.

Steven Cottee, restructuring partner at Pinsent Masons and Simon Wilson, Peter Holder and Anne O’Keefe of Zolfo Cooper were appointed as joint administrators.

The administrators affected an immediate pre-packaged sale of Harris Cartier to two buyers, Gordon Dadds LLP and Neil Hudgell Solitictors.

Harris Cartier was the first firm to be placed into administration following failure to put in place Professional Indemnity insurance cover before the legal regulator’s October 1 deadline.

In a statement, Neil Hudgell Solicitors said it had bought a book of work with a “seven-figure valuation” from administrators.

Neil Hudgell, managing director at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, said: “The acquisition from Harris Cartier is part of our wider and on-going growth strategy.

“The establishment of a London base is also fundamental to our plans and has been on the radar for a while. We will now be actively seeking premises in the capital and staff with a view to be open by the end of the month.”

Mayfair firm Gordon Dadds bought the remainder of the firm, which will mean the arrival of eight solicitors from Harris Cartier who specialise in company and commercial, private client, and commercial litigation and property law.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned that as many as 175 law firms face closure after failing to secure professional indemnity cover following the 1 October deadline.

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