NIGEL Popplewell, a leading health and tax lawyer in the South West, is leaving Clarke Willmott & Clarke to head up the corporate tax team at Burges Salmon.
Michael Clarke, managing partner of Clarke Willmott & Clarke, says: "We wish Nigel well, and we are recruiting elsewhere - particularly in planning - and intend to be serious heavy hitters in that area."
Clarke is adamant that his firm is not losing out to its bigger rivals.
Among other lateral hires to be confirmed in the future, planning lawyer Stephen Pasterfield, will join Clarke Willmott from Lawrence Tucketts in May 1999, says Clarke.
However, a source from a Bristol firm, says that Burges Salmon has recruited Popplewell in an attempt to establish a health practice to compete with leading firms, Bevan Ashford, and Veale Wasbrough.
Managing partner, Guy Stobart of Burges Salmon, denies that this is the case and confirms that Popplewell will be joining to head up the corporate tax team.