Clifford Chance has made a rare partner hire from a magic circle rival with the recruitment of Linklaters real estate expert Mark Payne.

Payne has been a partner in Linklaters’ London real estate group since 1995, but spent two years acting in a management role as an executive partner.

Sources at Clifford Chance said the move was aimed at bolstering the firm’s international real estate funds practice, which includes star partners Cliff McAuley, Ian Morpeth and Jonathan Solomon.

Last year Clifford Chance suffered the departure of real estate rainmaker Robert McGregor, who quit the firm to join Berwin Leighton Paisner as head of real estate.

Payne is expected to join Clifford Chance on 1 August.

Clifford Chance real estate head Cliff McAuley said: “We’re delighted to have Mark on board. His extensive experience in complex real estate transactions and acting for real estate funds makes him a good fit for Clifford Chance and our real estate group.”

A Linklaters spokesperson said: “We wish him well.”