Law firm Halliwells has recruited five members of rival Cobbetts' property finance department.
Margaret Norton and George MacMillan both arrive as partners; Alison Kellett and Claire Hamilton as associates, and Katie Ridehalgh joins as solicitor.
Mike Edge, head of real estate at Halliwells, said: "This is an exciting appointment and a real signal of intent. Property finance is a key area for the firm moving forward."
MacMillan added: "Our aim is to build the region's leading property finance department. The firm has a first rate reputation for banking and real estate work and there is huge potential to take its property finance offering onto a whole new level."