I found Helen Groom's piece about Heath Lambert's legal action against its property team that defected to Willis -"Heath Lambert wins Willis injunction"(News, 28 April) - riveting reading.

This case highlights the pitfalls involved in recruiting generally, but more particularly, in recruiting specialist teams.

Historically such disputes have been more often than not 'settled on the court steps'.

These settlements usually end with the acquiring broker paying a sum to the former employer in order to release staff from contact clauses which stipulate that former clients are off limits.

These payments are usually accepted, as conventional wisdom has it that such contract clauses are rarely enforceable.

It will be interesting to see if this case sets a precedent for firms who lose teams to rivals, and whether it will encourage other firms to fight back through the courts, rather than settle.

It would be a shame if this case makes the movement of teams rare rather than common place.

But this case could certainly make teams thinking of defecting nervous - particularly as the report indicates that the brokers in question have to pay costs related to the injunction.

This could have a similar affect on those firms considering poaching from rivals.

With the majority of brokers still taking an ad hoc, 'family and friends' approach to recruitment, one thing is clear - seeking professional advice to manage recruitment is more crucial than ever before.
Michelle Hannen
Executive consultant
Mansion House Executive