A&O loses German corporate heavyweight to Oppenhoff & Partner

Rolf Koerfer

Rolf Koerfer

The news was revealed by German legal website Juve today.

Koerfer has been a partner at A&O since January last year, joining the magic circle firm’s Düsseldorf office from Shearman & Sterling, where he was global co-head of M&A (14 January 2008).

Koerfer, who is widely regarded as one of Germany’s leading corporate lawyers, has close ties to Oppenhoff, having been a partner at Oppenhoff & Rädler Linklaters & Alliance before Shearman hired him in 2000.

Cologne firm Oppenhoff & Rädler merged with Linklaters & Alliance in 2000. In 2007, Linklaters axed the Cologne office to focus on Düsseldorf (8 October 2007). Shortly afterwards Michael Oppenhoff, the son of the late Walter Oppenhoff, who gave the firm its name, relaunched independently as Oppenhoff & Partner.

Oppenhoff said of Koerfer’s appointment: “Rolf Koerfer is not only one of the leading lawyers handling major transactions, but he’s also firmly committed to our business principle of having experienced partners provide personal advice.

“He was a long-standing colleague of the Cologne office and fits perfectly to us from a personal and professional point of view.”

Koerfer added: “I’m looking forward to the new challenge and to co-operating with competent and experienced partners. The combination of business sense and legal skills particularly appeals to me.

“With its mixture of high-level national and international assignments and its business law orientation, the office is a perfect working environment for me as a lawyer.”´

A&O recently won a role on one of Europe’s largest debt restructurings, thanks to Koerfer’s long-standing relationship with Schaeffler. The ball-bearing maker had to restructure €12bn of debt to pave the way for its merger with auto-parts manufacturer Continental.

Koerfer did not form part of the A&O team working on the deal, as he had been serving as chairman of Continental, which was 90 per cent owned by Schaeffler, since March (20 August 2009).

A spokesperson for A&O said of Koerfer’s departure: “Rolf Koerfer has decided to leave Allen & Overy. We would like to thank Rolf for the contribution he has made during his time at Allen & Overy and wish him all the best for the future.”