Garrett & Co is on the recruitment warpath yet again following the headhunting of Philip Ruttley, head of the EC department at City firm Watson Farley & Williams.

Ruttley has been appointed Garretts' head of EC and international trade practice, which has two partners and seven assistants, although he said he would be recruiting more lawyers for the department.

Ruttley, who started at Garretts last week, was at Watson Farley for just under two years. Before that he was a barrister practising in Brussels and London.

He is setting up a legal forum comprising senior world trade lawyers to liaise with the World Trade Organisation. Called the World Trade Law Association, Ruttley will act as its secretary, and he has persuaded Garretts to provide the secretariat.

He said the WTO was introducing a tougher international trade regime, in a move which few firms and clients had yet caught on to.

“One of the reasons I joined Garretts is because with a truly international network you can respond to clients' need to meet the new international legal regime in a way a mere domestic law firm cannot.”

He said a Garretts Brussels office was “on the horizon” but for the time being he was happy commuting to Brussels every week .