London and Oxford-based Boodle Hatfield has acquired Morgan Cole's head of family law Barbara Simpson.
Her departure follows the decision in July by Morgan Cole's partners to allow the management to axe up to 15 of their number.
However, Simpson says she could have stayed as a partner and her decision to move was prompted by a desire for a more private client focused practice.
Despite the move to build up its commercial practice, Simpson says Morgan Cole will continue to practise family law.
Simpson, formerly part of Cole & Cole's family team where she has been a partner since 1979, is one of the leading family lawyers in the South East.
She is particularly renowned for her expertise in public law children work and high value ancillary relief cases, often with an international element or complex commercial issues attached.
Simpson, who also sits as a deputy district judge at the Principal Registry of the Family Division, joins Boodle Hatfield's 34-partner practice on 1 December.
She has been recruited to build the family practice in Oxford but will also offer support to the London office.
The Morgan Cole partnership cull, first revealed by The Lawyer on 12 July, represents nearly 15 per cent of the existing 104 partners of the recently merged firm, which is made up of Cole & Cole, Morgan Bruce and Fishburn Boxer.