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Lovell White Durrant has snapped up one of the UK's leading construction lawyers, Masons partner Phillip Capper.
Lovells, which recently voted to merge with German firm Boesebeck Droste, has poached Capper with a view to developing its international construction practice.
The appointment is a major coup for Lovells. Although Lovells' 21-strong construction group is highly regarded, Masons is viewed as the UK's leading practice in the field.
Capper is being lined up by Lovells as the future head of construction when incumbent Nicholas Gould eventually retires.
Lovells senior partner Andrew Walker comments: "Construction is an integral part of our service to clients and Phillip's experience and reputation will complement the strength and depth of our existing team."
Capper specialises in international arbitration, engineering and construction, with particular emphasis on the legal aspects of design and construction risks.
One senior construction lawyer at a rival firm says: "Lovells is primarily directing its efforts and energies into the international market and that maybe is one of the angles, because he is strong in international contracts."
Capper, who has been at Masons since 1988 following a stint as Oxford University's chairman of the faculty of law, will be based in London. However, he will also work closely with Lovells' construction teams in Europe and Asia.
Capper tells The Lawyer: "Masons have built a strong reputation in their particular focus areas.
"But this invitation from Lovells is a challenging and interesting career opportunity that I want to take."
Senior partner at Masons, John Bishop, comments: "Masons is very sad to be losing a lawyer of Phillip's ability.