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KLegal, the legal arm of Big Five accountants KPMG, has raided bitter rival Arnheim Tite & Lewis for three senior lawyers and is threatening to poach more at partner level from City firms.
The defectors are banking lawyer Michael Dickie, employment specialist Colina Gathercole and IT lawyer Anthony Lee. They join KLegal as directors, the equivalent of salaried partner.
Gathercole has already joined KLegal, and Dickie and Lee join within two months.
KLegal is also announcing another six appointments, including one at director level, financial services specialist Deborah Sabalot who transfers from KPMG, and another Arnheim Tite lawyer, Luke Morris.
KLegal partner James Hodgson says KLegal intends to have 75 lawyers within a year and says that the firm's next round of recruits will include partners from leading City firms.
"We are delighted to announce this first round of appointments, which gives the firm additional expertise in banking, corporate, financial services and IT."
Arnheim Tite - associate firm of Pricewaterhouse- Coopers, the Big Five accountants - was rocked when six partners announced they were defecting to launch KLegal in May (The Lawyer, 3 May).
However, Christopher Tite, Arnheim Tite's managing partner claims he is unperturbed by the latest departures: "Those guys are going to KLegal. They are going to people they know and we hope they achieve in that environment and we wish them well."