Clyde & Co has poached the leading advertising lawyer outside London from Dibb Lupton Alsop's Leeds office to work in Dubai.
Mark Hill, a partner in the firm's IP practice, is credited with making Dibbs a major player in the area.
He will be the first IT and IP specialist in the firm's Middle East practice, starting as a partner designate in the team of 11 fee earners, which includes three partners.
Jonathan Silver, managing partner in the Middle East office, says: "This is the first of several appointments planned over the coming months as part of a significant expansion of Clyde & Co's operations in the Middle East."
Hill says: "The United Arab Emirates has transformed itself in recent years into the ideal gateway for international companies to develop their businesses throughout the Middle East.
"I am extremely excited by this opportunity."
The office has also recruited an associate, Maurice Thompson from Australian-based Mallesons Stephen Jacques to work in shipping litigation.
A Dibb Lupton Alsop spokesman said Hill's move was for purely personal reasons.