Simmons & Simmons' long-standing corporate partner Richard Allnutt is leaving to join global IT services supplier ICL where he will head the legal department.
Allnutt - a heavyweight in Simmons' corporate department where he has been a partner for 12 years - is due to join ICL's legal department of 20 lawyers as group counsel in September.
Allnutt, who applied for an advertised position with the u2.73bn company, says: "This is an excellent opportunity for me. I want to widen my experience. One of the tendencies [of private practice] is towards greater specialisation, and I am concerned that I shouldn't simply be repeating things I have done before."
Allnutt's move could see Simmons & Simmons winning ICL as a client. ICL, which formed an alliance with Microsoft last year, does not have a fixed panel of law firms although its main external firms are Masons and Linklaters & Alliance.
Allnutt will be co-ordinating the legal team and giving commercial as well as legal advice at ICL.
The bulk of his work will be advising the company on its flotation on the London stock exchange next year.
Allnutt is joining the company to take pressure off its director of commercial and legal affairs Richard Christou in the run-up to flotation.
Simmons senior partner Bill Knight says: "All our partners are heavyweight. People need a change from time to time and we wish him well."
ICL supplies software to magistrates' courts along with Unisys under a u183m private finance initiative with the Lord Chancellor's Department. It also supplies low-cost technology to small and medium-sized firms under a Law Society initiative, SolicIT.