DLA has won three Hamburg-based partners and 10 associates from former German ally Görg to launch its own base in the city.
Görg and DLA went their separate ways last month after three years as best friends.
The split came after DLA pressed for further integration in the wake of its merger talks with US giant Piper Rudnick. There was insufficient consensus for a deal within Görg and the firm announced that it would leave the DLA network.
DLA has quickly moved to cannibalise its former best friend, poaching pro-merger former Görg managing partner Ulrich Jungst to set up a Cologne office.
With the 10 associates hired in the latest raid, sources say Görg will probably transfer the Hamburg office and support staff to the UK national firm.
The Hamburg partners – two equity, Dr Klaus von Gierke and Dr Volker von Alvensleben, and one fixed-share, Dr Frank Weberndörfer – have been voted into the DLA partnership and are likely to start immediately as Görg does not have provisions for gardening leave.
DLA managing partner Nigel Knowles said: “We intend to build a strong national practice in Germany. Fee rates and working practices will not be directed by London, but will by driven by local experience.”
The UK firm intends to open offices across Germany, with Frankfurt the next target.