Natwest's subsidiary Global Financial Markets is losing its head of legal to Freshfields.
Christopher Georgiou, head of the legal department at Global Financial Markets, is joining Freshfields as a senior associate in the firm's structured finance department.
Simon Hall, head of the financial department at Freshfields, says: "We are pleased to have attracted someone so well known in the market in the face of such stiff competition."
According to a spokeswoman at Freshfields, Georgiou had been in a number of discussions with in-house departments and private practices before deciding to opt for the firm. However, she refuses to divulge which parties Georgiou had spoken to.
Georgiou had been at Global Financial Markets, which is the treasury arm of NatWest, for five years and is being replaced by Emma Gilkes, who will head the in-house team.
According to a spokesman at Global Financial Markets, Georgiou's departure is not related to NatWest's "defence document" which was published in response to the Bank of Scotland's ambitious £21bn hostile takeover bid for NatWest.
In the document the bank details plans to sell off four of its business units and make thousands of job cuts throughout the company.
He says Georgiou is leaving "purely for career development", adding that his departure is "amicable".