Australian firm Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR) has swooped for Lovells' Tokyo managing partner Tim Lester.
Lester, who heads Lovells’ Asian capital markets team, will be joining AAR as a partner in its corporate and finance practice and will be based in Perth.
Lester's departure from Lovells is an amicable one, with Lester choosing to return to Perth for personal reasons, after being away from the state for 13 years, saying that it was time to "return home".
Lester is a big loss for Lovells. He has just completed a $12.5bn (£6.35bn) transaction for Tokyo Marine, topping a string of deals during a storming 2006-07
The appointment is also in line with the strong growth registered by the firm's Western Australian practice. AAR's chairman Jim Thynne has said that the Perth office has grown by 33 per cent to 140 people in the past two years.
Meanwhile, Lester will remain at Lovells until March 2008, and as such a replacement has yet to be found. Nevertheless, Lovells is set to continue with its expansion in Tokyo and Asia and is currently looking to recruit a new expatriate partner for the Tokyo office.
Lovells managing partner David Harris has said that the firm's plans for Tokyo remain unchanged on the back of a strongly performing Asia market.
He said: "We have seen growth of nearly 40 per cent last year, which is very encouraging, and we remain committed to building on the ongoing success of our Tokyo office."