Baker & McKenzie suffers exodus of six German partners to US firms

Baker & McKenzie’s (B&M) German practice has lost six t partners to US rivals, including finance head Rainer Magold.

According to Germany’s Juve magazine, rated acquisition finance lawyer Magold and rising banking star Christina Ungeheuer have joined Milbank Tweed Hadley & McLoy, for which they will open a Frankfurt office.

Milbank opened its first German office in June with a daring raid on the previously impenetrable Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The US firm took on Freshfields’ global head of private equity Peter Nussbaum, corporate partner Norbert Rieger and tax partner Rolp Fuger.

Meanwhile, four B&M corporate partners – Walter Henle, Matthias Jaletzke, Bernd Mayer and Peter Veranneman – will open a Munich office for Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

B&M has had a troubled year in Germany, where partners held a vote on whether to change the remuneration system from an ‘eat what you kill’ model to lockstep. The proposal, understood to have been opposed by the finance department but supported by corporate, ultimately failed.

Russell Lewin of B&M ’s global executive told The Lawyer: “It’s a reasonanble conclusion to draw that when people want change and some want to move faster than others, this can be a catalyst to make people consider their options.

“These partners are a loss, but sometimes it is wise to consider these things in the medium-term.”