Stephenson Harwood employment partner Karen Seward is leaving to build a London employment practice at Pinsent Curtis.
Seward, at Stephensons since September 1994 and made up to partner in November last year, was number two in the firm's employment department and is currently negotiating her leaving date.
Pinsents' London managing partner Graeme Brister said: "I regard her as one of the rising stars in the employment firmament. We shall be recruiting assistants to support her."
The firm already has six employment partners and seven other fee earners in Leeds and Birmingham. "In establishing a London employment practice," explained Brister, "we are looking at making employment a fully national practice."
A Stephensons spokeswoman commented: "It is a good opportunity for Karen and we wish her well."
It also emerged this week that Chris Tite and Mark Lewis, who leave Stephensons at the end of May to set up the Coopers & Lybrand law firm, are also taking two assistants with them - four-year-qualified property lawyer Louise Gowman and Lewis' one-year qualified assistant John Edgell.