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Shearman & Sterling’s Brussels office must be a lonely place right now.
After the defection of two antitrust partners and a counsel to US rival Arnold & Porter, the branch is now home to just two associates. And some tumbleweed (see story).
Of course, there’s some history here. Shearman & Sterling has suffered a string of departures in Europe. Germany has been particularly hard hit. At the start of last year M&A star Rolf Koerfer debunked to Allen & Overy (see story).
By the end of the year Gottried Breuninger and Astrid Kruger would join him at A&O, while Thomas Fox headed to Latham & Watkins and the entire Mannheim office did a runner (see story).
Things got so bad that New York heavyweight Creighton Condon was flown over to London, which had suffered the loss of M&A star Peter King, to stem the tide. Which seemed to have worked, until now.
The importance of an antitrust practice in Brussels for any large European deal cannot be denied. As recently as June, Arnold & Porter defectee Silvio Cappellari was helping out on the sale of General Motors’ Hummer brand to a Chinese industrial group.
Of course, Shearman & Sterling says that the Brussels competition practice will be kept alive by partner Hans Jurgen Meyer-Lindemann. Who is based in Düsseldorf.
We think Condon should act quickly and restaff the Brussels office pronto.