Baker & McKenzie in poaching spree

Baker & McKenzie has poached the head of legal at investment bank Lehman Brothers' German headquarters.

The global law firm is also taking on two more new German partners and says that more will follow over the next year.

Matthias Gotz, head of legal and director at Lehman Brothers, will join Baker & McKenzie's investment banking group which is based in Frankfurt.

Gotz, who specialises in capital market transactions, headed for Lehman Brothers in 1995 after quitting JP Morgan.

The two other partners joining Baker & McKenzie are Dr Manuel Lorenz and Dr Barbara Deilmann.

It was expected that Lorenz, who was made a partner at German firm Boesebeck Droste last year, would follow fellow Boesebeck Droste property partner Dr Claudia Seibel, who joined Baker & McKenzie's Frankfurt office in July (The Lawyer, 26 July). The move has now been confirmed.

Baker & McKenzie has poached Deilmann from Dusseldorf law firm Holters & Elsing. She has been there since 1996.

Deilmann is set to join Baker & McKenzie's Dusseldorf office, although a start date has not been set.

Heckelmann explains: “It's not yet that common for [German] lawyers to switch to new law firms.”

The plans are being seen as a direct response to the merger mania which has gripped top UK firms operating in Germany.

Baker & McKenzie is bucking the trend by poaching from German firms rather than merging with them.

Gunther Heckelmann, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie's Frankfurt office says: “It is our strategy to look for strategic additions in areas where we see potential for growth instead of going for a big splash merger.”

Heckelmann says that Baker & McKenzie has a “very expansive” international strategy.

Industry sources say that Baker & McKenzie has gone for a different approach from other top-tier firms such as Clifford Chance which is set to merge with Punder Volhard Weber & Axster, Lovell White Durrant which is set to vote on whether to merge with Boesebeck Droste later this month, and Freshfields which has lined up Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund.