McDermott Will & Emery has hired Lovells corporate icon Hugh Nineham to become its European and London corporate head.
Nineham has been a crucial figure in Lovells' central management and has been the figurehead of the corporate group, heading the team from 1999 until 2005.
Nineham commented: "After 32 years it's time for a new challenge. The corporate team at McDermott is at a very different stage of its life and my focus will be on increasing scale."
Nineham's hire is a coup for McDermott, which hopes to use the kudos he brings to the firm to hire aggressively into the corporate team during 2008.
McDermott head of European competition Scott Megregian revealed: "Hugh will be very important to our hiring strategy. We want to have a corporate finance team that serves our clients as well as our structured finance group."
Lovells managing partner David Harris said: "Hugh has been considering a change of direction for some time and was planning his retirement from the practice.
"He's been a longstanding and strong supporter of the firm and I know that he'll remain so, even though he's taking up this new challenge."