HIGH-flying Dibb Lupton Alsop IT partner Alistair Maughan is to leave to help US firm Shaw Pittman Plotts & Trowbridge set up a London office.
Maughan has been charged with establishing the niche IT practice along with two other UK lawyers.
Margaret Harvey, global legal head at Price Waterhouse before its merger with Coopers & Lybrand, and Andrew Dunlop, a senior IP lawyer at Freshfields are also joining the firm. All three English lawyers will become partners in the US firm.
Maughan's departure is a blow for Dibbs' communications & technology unit at a time when it was celebrating its role advising the successful TranSys consortium on its £1bn PFI deal to implement a new ticketing system for London Transport.
The Lawyer revealed in July that Washington DC-based Shaw Pittman was planning to open in London by the end of September.
The firm's decision was driven by the growth of the European IT market, according to Andrew Moyle, an Australian partner at the US firm.
Moyle, who will himself be moving from the US to London, said: "Establishing a strong presence in Europe is a logical step to maintain our position as the premier outsourcing and complex IT transaction law firm."
Maughan would not comment on his move, but David Barrett, head of IT and communications at Dibbs, confirmed his departure saying the firm "wished him well".
Barrett denied a report in The Lawyer in June that he was in talks with Price Waterhouse-tied Arnheim & Co over a possible move to the firm. He said he was "never going there".