The legal and risk director at oil giant Burmah Castrol is leaving to join Oxford firm Linnells.
Peter Elliott, who joined the company in the middle of last year, was responsible for all corporate transactional work including corporate aspects of the recent merger with BP.
BP offered Elliott a post in its legal department but he has opted to move back to private practice.
Before joining Burmah Castrol, Elliott set up the in-house legal function at English China Clays, which was then a FTSE 100 company. He was company secretary there for eight years. Before that he was a partner at Charles Russell.
He says: "I have spent half my practising life in private practice and half in industry, the latter part in two large plcs. I just felt it was time to go back to private practice. I had an opportunity to join BP but this is what I have chosen to do."
He is the latest in a series of energy lawyers to return to private practice. In May, Paul Hrycyszyn left Canadian oil giant Ranger Oil to go to Lovells (The Lawyer, 29 May), and Garry Pegg, joint managing partner at US firm Leboeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae in London, was previously with Chevron and BHP.
At 19-partner Linnells, Elliott will be a partner in the corporate and commercial department. The firm, which he chose because he wants to stay in Oxford, is refocusing to become a commercial and commercial property firm after ditching legal aid work. Elliott says: "I bring an understanding of the plc backdrop and corporate and transactional experience."