TradeWinds understands the Ince Gordon Dadds law firm is losing its global head of admiralty Christian Dwyer plus senior partner James Drummond to Scandinavia’s largest law firm, Schjodt.

The defections come amid financial reporting delays and a trading suspension for the stocklisted law firm. They are the highest profile yet in a recent series of Ince veterans, and some of the departing lawyers expect further departures

A announcement is expected in May following a garden leave periods.

Sources told TradeWinds both Schjodt and fellow Oslo-London firm Wikborg Rein expect to recruit more Ince veterans.

UK legal business news provider Roll On Friday reported last Friday that Ince’s heads of admiralty and property law would be leaving, without mentioning their names or destinations.

Multiple legal sources with knowledge of the two firms’ activities confirmed the move. Dwyer, whose name and telephone number stand first on Ince’s maritime practice website page, could not immediately be reached for contact, nor could Drummond. One Ince partner who did not want to be mentioned by name confirmed to TradeWinds that Dwyer is on leave.

“I can’t give you any information at all, I’m afraid, and I’m going to end the call,” Ince partner Martin Dalby told TradeWinds.

“I can confirm that Mr Christian Dwyer will be joining Schjodt in London as a partner after serving out the gardening leave period. Further, I can confirm that Mr James Drummond will be joining Schjodt in London as a senior lawyer/master mariner after serving out the gardening leave period,” Schjodt partner and spokesman Per Ristvedt told TradeWinds.

Another Schjodt official indicated that further moves could be in the works.

“We are Scandinavia’s largest law firm now and we have a mandate to grow,” said said the Schjodt official, who could not speak on the record as a matter of company policy.

The well-established Ince shipping law firm has struggled with defections and internal dissension since before its 2018 takeover by non-shipping London firm Gordon Dadds, which had gone public the year before. In September 2022, former chief executive officer Adrian Biles from the Gordon Dadds side of the firm was sacked over an alleged conflict of interests.

In a mercilessly critical report last week, Roll On Friday noted that Ince had postponed its annual report three times and had blamed its accountant’s inability to post numbers on “the complexity of historic and legacy accounting issues” involved. The AIM-listed Ince Group, which owns the law firm, had sunk from £0.88 per share in April 2021 to £0.05 per share at the time it was suspended from trading on 3 January of this year.

Roll On Friday also reported that Ince had failed to make partner tax payments due on 31 January.

External representatives of the Ince Group could not be reached immediately for comment.