US firm Hunton & Williams has paid former Hammonds partner Martin Thomas a signing-on fee of £250,000.
A golden hello of this level is virtually unprecedented in the current London market.
Nick Woolf of recruitment consultancy Norman Broadbent said: “It’s not at all common in the law, certainly in comparison to financial services, and anything greater than £100,000 is incredibly unusual.
Normally, sign on fees are used to compensate for loss of a bonus if you hire somebody in the middle of the financial year.”
Thomas was head of Hammonds’ equity capital markets practice and has a very strong reputation in the AIM market; he is expected to take his AIM business to Hunton & Williams.
He will also have a key role in building up the firm’s London office, which has just four partners, and is expected to bring in lateral hires quickly.
Hunton & Williams and Thomas did not return calls for comment.