Scottish firm McGrigor Donald has lost the star head of its banking group Neil Morrison to Rowe & Maw along with his senior assistant Naomi Owen.

London-based Morrison was head of the McGrigors' banking group for five years. Before that he was head of SJ Berwin & Co's banking group.

He said: “I decided when I was approached by Rowe & Maw that I would be more comfortable in a large City firm environment than in a smaller branch office.”

Glasgow-based McGrigor Donald, which has offices in Edinburgh and Brussels, styles itself as a national law firm rather than a purely Scottish one and has long had English-qualified partners in London under a parallel partnership arrangement to satisfy Scottish Law Society rules. It currently has around half a dozen partners in London.

Rowe & Maw managing partner Richard Powles said his firm had recruited Morrison, who is heavily involved in PFI work, as part of its strategy of strengthening its presence in banking and special projects.

It hired Lovell White Durrant senior banking assistant Christopher Causer in July last year as a partner and has set up a cross-departmental projects group.