Birmingham's newest law firm has pulled off a major coup by recruiting the entire line-up of the Birmingham office of Heatons.

Corporate experts Paul Wakefield and Rob Parry, plus their respective teams, have joined Clarke Willmott along with a third partner, commercial property specialist Jonathan Morton.

Clarke Willmott has only set out its stall in the city over the last two years.

Heatons' corporate team, acknowledged by the Legal 500 directory as punching above its weight in the quality of its deals, was wooed by several big-name law firms before accepting Clarke Willmott's offer.

David Sedgwick, Clarke Willmott's managing partner, said: "I think we can regard it as an endorsement of our progress in Birmingham that we have won this highly sought-after team.

"In recent years they have done some very impressive work and become known as acting for Baugur Group on a number of its high-profile deals in the retail sector, including its #152 million acquisition of Oasis Stores, the #110 million Goldsmiths Group transaction and the #120 million acquisition of Karen Millen."

Mr Wakefield said: "The corporate finance team in Birmingham decided that the practice had gone as far as it could with a small firm and wanted to work within a larger organisation.

"Clarke Wilmott was right for the move as it is not known for corporate finance work in Birmingham so there is mutual benefit. All Birmingham client work will transfer to Clarke Willmott.

"We have a well-respected corporate finance team, and once we made it known that we were open to exploring our strategic options we weren't short of suitors.

"We chose Clarke Willmott because it is an exciting firm with good growth, and a solid platform on which to build. I think our move will get the marketplace interested in Clarke Willmott, and generate a lot of activity."

Clarke Willmott specialises in real estate and construction, sport, and high-net worth private client work. It also has a flourishing practice in food and drink. The new, enlarged corporate team represents a significant reinforcement of its West Midlands presence. Mr Sedgwick added: "We intend to strengthen those sectors where we are already strong and are in talks with individuals at partner level in other firms who we feel can help us to achieve our objectives."

The Birmingham transfer does not affect Heatons in Manchester.

Matt Fleetwood, Heatons managing partner, said: "The Birmingham and Manchester offices were moving in different directions, and this gives Manchester the opportunity to focus its energy on growing our niche brand."

Clarke Willmott's arrival in Birmingham came in 2004 with the acquisition of Amery Parkes.

Last year it added Vernon & Shakespeare to its stable.