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Asset management specialist Cynthia Cobden is believed to have been enticed back by the offer of partnership status.
Brinsley Nicholson, acting managing partner at Linklaters, said: "People do leave firms because they have not received the recognition they demand. When they have gone the firm has a rethink. We are disappointed, but quite understand her decision."
Walter Looney, managing partner of Simpson Thacher's London office, confirmed the hiring: "We're delighted that she has accepted our offer."
But he declined to explain why Cobden had joined Linklaters in London rather than transferring to Simpson Thacher's London office when she followed her husband to the UK in the summer.
Linklaters has over 60 US lawyers, split equally between London and New York.