Allen & Overy set to double its capacity in Frankfurt

ALLEN & OVERY is looking to double the size of its Frankfurt office over the next year in a move that will mirror Clifford Chance's rapid expansion in the German legal market.

According to Tim Arnheim, Allen & Overy's senior partner in Frankfurt, the German office now has 20 lawyers, twice the number a year ago. He said his office intended to continue growing at a similar rate.

Allen & Overy began its expansion last year with the poaching of partner Peter Hein from top German firm Bruckhaus Westrick Stegemann. It was thought to be the first time a UK firm had taken a partner from such a highly-rated firm.

Arnheim said one of his firm's main growth areas was its German law service.

The German market has been widely seen as a tough nut to crack for UK firms with German lawyers unwilling to move to UK firms. But Arnheim said his firm was not finding this a major problem.

Clifford Chance has had notable success in attracting lawyers from German firms and Linklaters & Paines is also making inroads into the German market.

Freshfields' Frankfurt office is currently involved in talks with Frankfurt firm Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund about a possible link-up.