Diane Burleigh is to quit as head of court business at the Law Society to become secretary general of the Institute of Legal Executives (Ilex).
Burleigh, who begins her new position at Ilex on 9 October after 10 years at the Law Society, replaces Pat Dilley, who has been acting secretary general since earlier this year.
Burleigh is believed to have been deeply disappointed when the Law Society appointed Russell Wallman to the senior post of head of policy in November 1996 without even interviewing her.
But she denied Wallman's appointment had anything to do with her decision to leave the society. "I am looking to pastures new to promote my own career. Ilex is really moving ahead and it's good to be on board."
A spokesman for the Law Society said: "It's good for Ilex and terrible for us. She was a real asset and was always given the difficult television interviews to do."
In another development the Law Society has appointed Mitzi Wyman as head of practice management. Wyman said she was looking forward to helping particularly small and medium-sized firms with management by, for example, building up a database of best practice for members to consult.
Within the first year she aims to have 1,500 members in the society's new law management section which will hold its inaugural conference on 1 October.