Nigel Tomkins, a well-known personal injury lawyer and senior executive at Thompsons, has quit the firm after 25 years to set up his own consultancy.
Tomkins - who was responsible for training and education throughout Thompsons - was a member of Lord Woolf's civil justice working party. He was also heavily involved in preparing the personal injury pre-action protocols and has sat on two of the Lord Chancellor's civil justice working parties.
He says that the Woolf reforms now offer new commercial scope for legal trainers.
"There are now great opportunities out there and I really feel I need a change of direction in my career. I wish Thompsons every continued success."
Tomkins says his decision to leave has nothing to do with Thompsons' move to seek voluntary redundancies from 11 partners in the lead up to the Woolf reforms.
Thompsons partner Tom Jones wishes Tomkins luck and says that the firm already has a full-time training officer working out of its office in Stoke.
Tomkins' casework will be picked up by existing staff.
Tomkins is a self-described "odd-bod". Although he was a senior executive at Thompsons and had a full case-load, he never qualified as a solicitor.
Despite his lack of qualifications, Tomkins is associate professor of civil litigation at the College of Law and sits on the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers' executive committee.