Rotherham firm Oxley & Coward has recruited Tim Toomey to head the litigation department as part of its drive to become one of the area's major law firms.
Toomey, who joins from Sheffield firm Taylor & Emmett, previously spent six years at Eversheds. As a partner he intends a considerable expansion of his department.
He said: "I will start from scratch by bringing in fresh work and increasing the number of staff. I will concentrate on building and computer work, for which Oxleys already has a good reputation."
Toomey said he preferred working in a small environment. "I left Eversheds when it started becoming a super-large firm. Small to medium-sized firms can offer a really quality service, often at cheaper prices, where clients have direct contact with partners."
He added: "Although there are a number of first class law firms in Yorkshire, some have got so big that they've lost touch with their clients."
Toomey joins Rosemary Downs, a colleague from Eversheds, at Oxleys. She said: "Tim was highly thought of and I'm delighted to be able to work with him again."
A spokesman from Taylor & Emmett refused to comment on Toomey's departure.