Henry Hepworth, the leading niche media practice, has poached Clyde & Co's head of intellectual property (IP) and IT Toni Vitale.
Vitale, who was an associate at Clyde & Co, joins the media firm as a consultant with a view to becoming a partner. Clyde & Co was actively considering Vitale for partnership. The firm was due to vote on the issue in October before he had made the decision to leave.
Vitale says he was put in charge of the IP/IT department at the London and Guildford offices of Clyde & Co in September, when its previous head, commercial partner Anthony Garrod, moved to the firm's Dubai office.
Vitale is bringing a number of unnamed e-commerce, IP and IT clients with him to Henry Hepworth, which now boasts 22 lawyers, including five partners.
Vitale, who only joined Clyde & Co from Dibb Lupton Alsop in January, says he will also be bringing with him the global network of e-commerce and advertising lawyers he established at Clyde & Co. This includes more than 20 lawyers in the US, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
He says: "Despite the size of the practice, Henry Hepworth has a real international focus."
In July, the firm poached Davies Arnold Cooper's entire London-based IP team, including its highly-regarded head of IP Catrin Turner.
Vitale says he was keen to join a specialist firm focused on his particular sectors of industry. "I'm not trying to sell lots of practice areas I'm not involved in," he says.
Senior partner at Henry Hepworth Michael Henry says: "Toni was a natural for the firm. His IP, IT and e-commerce practice fits perfectly and his reputation makes him central to our aim of being the IP/media firm of choice."
Henry Hepworth has rebranded itself as the Henry Hepworth Organisation, or H2O.