Los Angeles firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is taking on four partners from troubled law firm BBLP Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener to open an office in Munich.
M&A partners Christoph Hoebbel, Christoph Kuhmann and Benno Schwarz, and intellectual property partner Michael Walther will join Gibson Dunn before the end of the year. The announcement ends weeks of speculation about the departures, following their resignations a fortnight ago. Gibson Dunn has European offices in London and Paris, but the Munich office will give the firm its first presence in Germany. Bernard Grinspan, the firm's chair of operations and head of the Paris and London offices, said that Gibson Dunn's clients are doing an increasing amount of transactions in Germany. He said: "We're one of the top firms in the US for M&A, and we want to have that reputation in all the big M&A centres." European clients include Intel, Hewlett Packard, Investcorp and Tyco International. Siemens is a big client of the Beiten Burkhardt partners, and it is expected that the relationship will move with them. Grinspan said the main reason for going to Munich rather than Frankfurt was the choice of lawyers. Also, many of the firm's clients are based in Munich, which is the country's centre for high technology. Last April, Gibson Dunn took on Nomura's former chief general counsel Stephen Ball for its London office. However, expectations that he would pull in a series of top partners so far remain unfulfilled.