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Slaughter and May's German best friend Hengeler Mueller is losing a partner to one of its allied firms for the first time.
M&A specialist Martin Hartl, who is qualified in Italian and German law, will leave in September to join Italian best friendBonelli Erede Pappalardo. Hartl, head of Hengeler Mueller's Italian desk, will launch a German law desk at Bonelli. He cited family reasons for the move to Italy. He said: "When deciding to relocate I obviously started to talk to Bonelli about joining them. "I know the firm well, it being a best friend of ours. I got to know it better during the talks we had." Hartl, a partner at Hengeler since 1998, is based in the Berlin office. He has been running the Italian desk since taking partnership. He said: "I have a number of big Italian clients and they make up most of my desk's work. The second group would be US clients, but Italian clients provide most of my work here. They like the advice from someone who perfectly understands their background." At Bonelli, Hartl's German desk will provide the Italian law advice that Hengeler clients will be without when he moves. He declined to name the clients he has been working with, but said that over the past 12 months he had worked on a number of acquisitions, a share-for-share public exchange offer and an initial public offering advising the banks. He said the move would strengthen relations between the two firms. He said: "My ultimate goal in Italy is not to carry on doing general advice but to work my way back into corporate law advice. "When German law gets a little more complex I will propose that clients set up a team with Hengeler." Hartl will join Bonelli's corporate finance practice in Milan until the end of next year to familiarise himself with the practice before moving to a permanent desk in Rome.