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Lawyers brought in as ASL head exits

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Long-standing Austin:Smith-Lord chief Maggie Mullan has instructed lawyers following her sudden departure from the troubled practice

Mullan, who had been at the now 60-strong company since 1999 and was a partner for the past six years, is believed to have left following a ‘fundamental breakdown of the partnership’.

The exact grounds for the grievance are unclear but the AJ understands Mullan has alleged, among other things, unfair prejudice against a minor shareholder and unlawful expulsion. Over the past year the company, which has been in a company voluntary arrangement since 2011, has lost a number of its most senior staff, including Chris Pritchett and Alastair Sunderland, who both retired.

ASL partner Neil Chapman said: ‘[Mullan’s exit] is tremendously regrettable, but these things do happen. I don’t want to make more of this than there is. We have good jobs coming in and we are currently taking on junior staff.’

Mullan, who was made a partner at the company’s Liverpool office in 2008, worked on major projects including the £98 million campus for Stockport College and the Wigan Youth Zone (AJ 01.07.13).

She refused to comment.

Once ranked as the seventh biggest architectural outfit in the AJ100 rankings, ASL filed for a company voluntary arrangement in late 2011. The company got into financial trouble following a long-running dispute over a huge amount of unpaid fees racked up in Abu Dhabi.

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