Wilde Sapte's leading litigator Philip Rocher is believed to be in talks to join Clifford Chance.
Neither Clifford Chance nor Wilde Sapte would comment, but it is known that Rocher began looking for a new position when Wilde Sapte formalised talks with Arthur Andersen.
His main client is Deloitte & Touche, which has told him it would not be keen to send him instructions if he became a partner at a rival Big Six firm.
The collapse of the Andersens deal appears to have come too late to persuade him to stay.
Clifford Chance's contentious and non-contentious insolvency practice needs to plug a big gap left by the successive departures of three leading partners this spring and Rocher has insolvency litigation experience, having defended Deloittes from actions brought by the Barings liquidators.
Rocher's initial discussions with Freshfields appear to have come to nothing.
Wilde Sapte banking partner Richard Caird, who resigned before merger talks with Andersens began, joined Commerzbank last week, as predicted by The Lawyer in February. He has been made head of legal and compliance at Commerzbank Global Equities. He will be joined on 31 July by Ian Capes, formerly group compliance officer at Credit Lyonnais in London.
Rakisons has hired solicitor-advocate Mark Parkhouse, an assistant at Wilde Sapte, as a partner to head a new insolvency practice at the firm.