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Tim Sanders, who is currently head of tax at Theodore Goddard, has been with the firm since 1992.
But McDermotts' London office has snapped up Sanders in a bid to bolster its tax group, which practises UK law.
Sanders will work under the firm's current UK head of tax Peter Nias. Talks between McDermotts and Sanders began six months ago.
He specialises in UK and international banking tax work. His clients include Lehman Brothers for capital markets work and the Signet Group.
Nias cannot disclose if Sanders is bringing any clients with him. But he says: "Clearly Tim is, as with any practitioner, faced with the usual restrictive covenants.
"But when that happened to me, virtually all the clients I had came with me.
"It should be the case that the client is the most important element in this and not the law firm."
Sanders is the latest in a series of partner raids launched by McDermotts on its City rivals.
Last year the firm recruited Nias, the former Simmons & Simmons' head of tax. William Charnley, Simmons' head of corporate finance, left at the same time to take up the role of London managing partner (The Lawyer, 20 October 1999).
Nias intends to recruit another partner and four more assistants into the tax group by the end of the year.
He says: "I feel this will be the catalyst for starting what I hope will be recognised as a leading tax practice in the City. We can now create a practice of the highest reputation attracting other tax practitioners to build a team offering technical excellence."
Charnley says: "This latest recruitment underlines the firm's commitment to building a full-service UK law practice."
Sanders will be replaced as head of tax at Theodore Goddard by partner Peter Sayer.