Mishcon De Reya is poaching a key Eversheds planning lawyer in a bid to expand its property department.
Gordon Campbell says he was head of planning and environment at Eversheds in the capital, but the firm maintains he did not hold such a title.
He is recognised as one of the leading planning lawyers in London and acts for clients including housing and retail developers.
At Mishcons he will be head of planning, joining a property department of 11 partners and 20 other fee-earners.
Campbell says: "Eversheds London is a good firm but it has no real focus on property work anymore.
"I wanted to move to a more dynamic, more property-focused firm, and while it may be seen as a step down in terms of size of firm there is no difference in the size of the property department or the London office."
Head of property at Mishcons Nick Doffman says: "We have recognised for some time the increasing demand for specialist planning advice. Planning is an element of practically every property transaction we do."
Campbell was a senior solicitor at Eversheds and joins Mishcons in the same position.
At Eversheds he worked for clients including GEC, Church Commissioners and Orbis Pensions Trustees.
Campbell says he was the only person doing planning full time at Eversheds in London, but the firm's property partner William Naunton says: "We have got a planning team of some 30 lawyers including eight partners. He was not the only planner based in London."