Bevan Ashford's leading local government partner, Malcolm Iley, has finally been able to join Nabarro Nathanson as head of its 10-strong public/private projects group.

Nabarros set up the unit three months ago in readiness for Iley's arrival. However, it is understood that Iley had to serve out his notice.

Iley – eight years a partner at Bevan Ashford – was managing partner of its Plymouth office and also helped run its representative London office. He said he has joined Nabarros because it was known as the country's leading public sector firm.

Nabarros lost its former head of public and administrative law, Carl Hopkins, in May to Lawrence Graham after restructuring its practice groups, but it still contains many leading names in the field.