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Boodle Hatfield has taken on Morgan Lewis & Bockius private client partner David Way.
Way, an international tax specialist, is the second partner to leave the US firm's London office in three months. Head of commercial property Stephen Turner left for Baker & McKenzie in September.
Way says: "I have enjoyed my two years at Morgan Lewis & Bockius. It is time to move on and develop my career at one of the top six private client firms."
The Philadelphia-based firm has lagged behind its US competitors in the recruitment race for UK lawyers, and sources say the London office has not had the freedom it needs to compete in the City.
But an overhaul of Morgan Lewis' management structure in the US has stripped out unwieldy committees. Sources suggest the revamp will bring greater autonomy for its offices outside Philadelphia.
It is understood that at least one major corporate partner will be joining the London office from the US, and London managing partner Tom Benz says that Way's departure is partly due to a new strategy for the office.
"With our increasing focus on cross-border corporate, tax and litigation practice areas, David has decided to continue his career with a specialist UK firm. We hope to continue to work with David on specialised UK private client matters."
Way will join Boodle Hatfield's eight-partner tax team in January.