German offices suffer in lawyer merry-go-round

Looking at the past few months, you may be forgiven for thinking that the trend in Germany at the moment is for mass walkouts.

In Berlin Lovells lost its five-person banking team, when all of the lawyers involved decided to set up camp alone. Over in Frankfurt, meanwhile, Heussen had its office raided for eight of its 11 lawyers as Faegre & Benson swooped. Most recently, McDermott Will & Emery suffered a four-partner exodus from its Munich tax department, leaving the team with just five lawyers in Germany.

While the departing teams grabbed the headlines, some highly rated individuals are also on the move. The Frankfurt office of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy lost one of its rated partners, leveraged financed specialist Christina Ungeheuer, to Latham & Watkins. Ungeheuer is set to join Latham in Frankfurt later this year.

Then there is Hogan & Hartson, which has nabbed one of SJ Berwin‘s German managing partners, head of the German funds practice Uwe Steiniger, from its Munich office, after six years at the firm, boosting its private equity and alternative investments business in Germany and internationally.

Over in Cologne Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer saw the departure of corporate partner Jürgen Sieger to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton after more than 23 years at the firm.

Freshfields co-head of corporate Andreas Fabritius tells The Lawyer: “We’re sad that he’s going as he was a nice man and has built the practice to where it is today. But we still have six corporate partners in Cologne, giving us a good base, and across Germany we have 58 corporate partners.”

Good news for Ashurst, then, which has bolstered its German capital markets team by hiring Freshfields associate Tobias Krug after losing three lawyers in its Munich office to the ever-predatory Latham. Krug joins as a partner at the firm’s Frankfurt office in October.