Cole's departure is seen as a significant loss to Stephenson Harwood. Her assistant, Richard Banforth, is also leaving.
“They will be sorry to see her go,” said one ex-Stephenson Harwood partner. “She's a very tough operator. She knows her stuff, she's a good litigator, and she's not afraid to speak her mind.”
Cole, who has been at the firm since doing articles in 1983, is involved in the Maxwell litigation, acting for Bishopsgate Investment Management against Credit Suisse.
She said: “I've had a terrific time here, but this is an exciting opportunity. I will be recruiting my own team and my role will be pretty international.”
White & Case administration partner Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes said: “We are flattered that Margaret wants to join us. She has a very good reputation in her field.”