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The London office of US firm Coudert Brothers has been hit by the defection of telecoms star Colin Long to Olswang. Long will become joint head of Olswang's Telecommunications and IT Unit with current head partner Kim Nicholson.
Coudert Brothers managing partner Philip Burroughs said: "We would obviously have preferred it if he hadn't left but it won't stop us trying to grow our telecoms practice."
Partner Michael Ryan will take over as Couderts' head of telecoms in London - Burroughs said that Ryan's team would be part of a 20-lawyer worldwide telecoms practice.
However, he would not comment on speculation that the firm had offered Long £500,000 a year to stay.
Market sources said that Long wanted more resources to do corporate deals with his telecoms clients.
Long said: "As the industry continues to diversify and develop new alliances and relationships I am confident that the firm's breadth of resources and corporate capabilities will be of great value to my clients."
He is said to have a vast knowledge of telecoms regulations and recently advised Worldcom on the EC merger control aspects of the MCI merger.
Coudert Brothers does not operate a gardening leave policy. Long's departure date is thought to be next month.
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