US FIRM Mayer, Brown & Platt partner Peter Gaines has quit his post in the firm's London office to join the UK banking team of rival Chicago practice Baker & McKenzie.
Gaines, who worked for Mayer Brown for 20 years - including a five-year stint in London - last week started leading Baker & MacKenzie's project, acquisition and structured finance practices.
He signed after approaching the firm's banking and finance department head Schuyler Henderson, a former Mayer Brown colleague.
"Mayer, Brown & Platt is a terrific firm," said Gaines. "When I joined it 20 years ago it had the best banking practice of any firm west of New York.
"But the firm asked me to return to Chicago and I saw an opportunity to continue with my practice in London which I started five years ago.
"One of the things that I find the most impressive about Baker & McKenzie is its ability to combine a critical mass in London with an integrated global network of offices."
Gaines, who qualified in Illinois and New York, will be based in London, although much of his work will involve other jurisdictions.
"Peter's strengths in project, structured and acquisition finance are an excellent fit with our existing practice," said Henderson. "We expect a smooth and rapid integration, professionally and personally.
"We share Peter's view that London will remain an exciting place for international banking lawyers and we were pleased to be able to meet his aspiration to practice here long-term."
Mayer Brown's London partner-in-charge Richard Cole said Gaines' posting in the UK had always been agreed on a temporary basis, and he was to have returned to become one of the senior partners in the Chicago finance team.
Cole added: "I have known Peter for 19 years. If he thinks that this is the right thing for him I wish him well and wish him success."