…. but loses IT ace as KLegal swoops

KLegal has raided top IT firm Bird & Bird to secure its first head of e-commerce and digital media.

It is understood that leading practitioner Mark Haftke will take a raft of high-profile clients with him.

The legal arm of the accountancy giant KPMG was set up a year ago. James Hodgson, partner and head of intellectual property at KLegal, says the appointment is part of the firm's on-going growth.

He adds: “KPMG has a thriving e-business consulting and tax practice and we are committed to developing a legal capability to match.”

Haftke joined Bird & Bird from niche media firm Russells in 1995 with the aim of developing the e-commerce practice.

He tells The Lawyer that while his departure is amicable, the lure of working for a multidisciplinary partnership proved too much.

Haftke says: “KLegal is an opportunity that I thought would be exciting and it is a slightly different proposition.”

Haftke's clients are some of the biggest players in the media sector. They include online bookseller Amazon, Carlton Communications, Emap and Sony Music Europe.

He says: “[Bird & Bird] has said that it is happy for me to continue working for my clients.”

Haftke initially trained as a barrister, doing his pupillage at 3 Gray's Inn Square, before re-qualifying as a solicitor in 1990.

His appointment comes only weeks after KLegal hired the former managing partner of Weil Gotshal & Manges' London office Nick Holt (The Lawyer, 1 May).