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Janke, who has been a partner with Freshfields since 1997, is set to leave the firm’s Frankfurt office in November and will launch his own firm, according to German publication Juve. He will start off alone but plans to hire associates to join his team in the coming year.
Janke’s departure follows the revelation that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's management has kick-started a radical partner de-equitisation programme in a bid to boost profit (thelawyer.com 23 October).
It is understood that the magic circle firm is planning to de-equitise up to 50 partners. Partners across all of the firm's offices including London and Germany may be affected.
The moves come just a few months after 30 partners decided to retire from the partnership to take advantage of favourable pension terms. Some have since announced their departure while other remain as consultants.
Janke’s decision to set-up shop alone, follows the example of Linklaters' German IP partner Kay-Uwe Jonas, who is set to leave the firm early next year, taking the entire Cologne trademark team with him.
Linklaters has seen a spate of losses in recent weeks following a strategic review of its IP practice. The firm is now looking to realign away from trademark filing and portfolio management, in favour of complex cross-border matters.