New York firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson has set up an office in Germany at the request of one of its biggest investment banking clients.
The bank has asked the firm to provide it with a capital markets practice in Frankfurt. "One major bank has urged us to build a capital markets team with German capability to work with them in Frank-furt," said Paris managing partner Eric Cafritz. He refused to name the client, but it is known that Fried Frank does a huge amount of international work for Goldman Sachs. The office will also service Fried Frank's existing M&A and private equity clients. Cafritz said that almost all of the firm's larger M&A deals have a German element, and that lawyers travel regularly to Germany for due diligence reviews and negotiations. He also said that the firm's private equity clients are anticipating an increase in activity after next year's tax breaks take effect and have asked the firm to follow them into the market. The office will initially be staffed from London and Paris, but it is thought that from January there will be a permanent local presence. Fried Frank's strategy for growth, however, is organic, and the firm will not be looking to hire laterally. "Based on our experience in Paris, the model for our European M&A practice is the deployment of highly mobile teams of lawyers, admitted in diverse jurisdictions and operating from bases in Paris, London and now Frankfurt," said Cafritz. "We want to stay focused on core disciplines, and our experience in Paris and London has proven how profitable it can be to practise in small, focused groups." In London, Fried Frank focuses on cross-border M&A, global capital markets, leveraged and structured finance and securitisation; and in Paris it focuses on M&A, corporate finance, leveraged leasings and project finance. The Continental practice will continue to be run out of Paris, but New York and London-based corporate partner Sanford Krieger will also spend time in Frankfurt. Cafritz and London-based partners Daniel Bursky and Chris Kandel will also be regular visitors to the German office.