The head of Morgan Bruce's London office has quit the firm to join DJ Freeman.

Corporate partner Graham Barber joins DJ Freeman this week – exactly the same time as Morgan Bruce merges with Cole & Cole to create a 92-partner top 25 firm.

Barber – one of two representatives on Morgan Bruce's executive board from its London office – denied that the merger was a factor in his decision to move.

“It's a move which makes sense strategically and I wish the merger every success,” he said.

Barber – former senior partner of Binks Stern, which was taken over by Morgan Bruce in autumn 1994 – said that after 23 years in effectively the same firm “it was time for a new challenge”.

Barber, who specialises in doing corporate work for property clients, said DJ Freeman was stronger in London than Morgan Bruce.

Peter McGarrick, another Morgan Bruce board member said: “We are sorry Graham is going.”

But he added: “Following the merger we are better resourced on all fronts. We are here to stay in a big way in the London market.”

DJ Freeman's chief executive Jonathan Lewis commented that Barber's hiring was “a rare opportunity to acquire a lawyer with a superb reputation”.