Legal Action Group (LAG) director Roger Smith has been snapped up by Chancery Lane to become its director of legal education and training.
The move is a major fillip for the society, which has been slowly rebuilding its team of senior staff after the exodus of top officials following Martin Mears' election as president.
Smith, who takes up the new post in July, has been at the LAG for 12 years and has built it into a self-funding business with a turnover of £900,000.
He has had his run-ins with the Law Society, most notably in 1996 when he berated Mears' record as president.
But Smith said he thought the Law Society had improved, adding: “In the early 1980s LAG was very critical of the Law Society, but we shifted our focus towards what the government was doing.”
Warwick University professor Lee Bridges, who sits on LAG's management committee, said: “He has taken the group from strength to strength.”