Pensions lawyer Maria Stimpson is to head up the pensions practice at Ashurst Morris Crisp.
Stimpson, a manager in employment, pensions and benefits at Freshfields, will join Ashursts in January 1999. She will be the firm's first pensions partner and part of its employment and benefits group.
Stimpson, who was not a partner at Freshfields, said the Ashursts offer was one she could not refuse. "It is exciting and a challenge and I am really looking forward to it."
She said it was unusual for a non-partner to be accepted into equity partnership in a new firm and the move proved Ashursts' commitment to pensions as a practice area.