Local market reels as UK firm raids Dabelstein & Passehl to conquer Germany
Ince & Co is to become the first UK shipping firm to attack the German market as it takes on two partners from specialist shipping practice Dabelstein & Passehl in Hamburg. Axel Salander and Detlef Zschoche will become part-ners at Ince & Co when they join the firm on 1 October. They will join London partner Jonathan Lux, who will relocate to Hamburg to head up the office. Senior associate Jan Hungar will also join from Dabelstein. Lux specialises in maritime law, insurance matters and international trade; his clients include major protection and indemnity clubs, shipowners, cargo buyers and sellers and major insurers in the area. The office will service existing clients in Hamburg as well as targeting new clients both in Germany and in the neighbouring Baltic States. Ince & Co senior partner Peter Rogan said that the firm is committed to being a specialist firm, but it also needs to take on the global aspects. "We're well covered in Asia, but we need to cover Europe as well now that it's an important economic power point," he said. "Germany is a major economy and Hamburg is the second-biggest port in Europe." However, according to Rogan, the decision to open in Hamburg came more in response to the market than from client demand. He said: "The German insurance market is very aggressive and there's a lot of investment in Hamburg." Another important factor in the firm's decision is Hamburg's geographical location, which makes it an important gateway into the Baltic States. A large number of Baltic companies are based in Hamburg and it has grown into an important area for international trade. Ince & Co considered setting up only a contact office in Germany, but Rogan considers it important to have German law capability. "A lot of the work is done part UK and part German law, so we thought it made sense to hire German lawyers," he explained. Salander and Zschoche advise on contentious and non-contentious issues for global companies based in Hamburg, as well as for local companies. Both partners are expected to bring their practices with them. Up until now, the shipping market in Europe has remained more or less static. However, Salander's and Zschoche's moves follow the departures of shipping partners Dieter Rabe and Jan Wolper, who left Gaedertz when its Hamburg office merged with US firm Latham & Watkins.