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Ian Rose joins from Allen & Overy's competition and environmental law practice, where he has been for 10 years, spending the last four years in Brussels on secondment to the European Commission.
Rose, who will join as a partner, says his first job will be to develop Watson Farley's competition practice.
He says: "There are huge opportunities on the UK and EC side. I have done a lot of merger work in Brussels. I have also done a lot of distribution work and that is another area that is growing."
The head of Watson Farley's international corporate group Charles Walford says: "Ian will bring his extensive experience in EC competition and environmental law, enhanced by a period on secondment to the European Commission, to our international client base."
Rose qualified at Allen & Overy in 1992. He says that his decision to move was difficult but adds that he wants to take on a more managerial role.
The appointment coincides with a period of expansion at Watson Farley. In February, the firm bolstered its Singapore office by taking on Barry Irwin from Australian firm Allen Allen & Hemsley.