B&M poaches German partner for Dusseldorf

Global law firm Baker & McKenzie has poached a German M&A partner from a rival firm and launched a recruitment drive in London to boost the German practice.

Bernd Mayer is joining the firm's Dusseldorf office from niche M&A local practice Velten Franz Mayer & Jakoby, which he jointly founded in 1997. He will bring the number of partners in his new office to six.

The move comes less than a month after Baker & McKenzie in London took M&A partner Bernd Ratzke from Rowe & Maw (The Lawyer, 24 January). The two will work closely together.

German managing partner Gunther Heckelmann says: “Mayer is an excellent M&A lawyer and that is one of the strengths of the firm. The area is certainly growing.”

Heckelmann plans to boost the number of lawyers in Germany from 120 to 150 by the end of the year, in part by poaching partners and senior associates from top London firms.

Baker & McKenzie has four offices in Germany and Heckelmann says he is trying to build up expertise to service international investment banking clients – finance, securities and M&A being the focus.

Heckelmann says he is looking at London because the office works very closely with Frankfurt. He may poach as many as three or four partners and 10 associates from the City, but says the final figures are flexible.

He adds: “There are probably people who are in the London market and have the desire to move. Germany and London have a very, very close cooperation and we don't really mind where the partners are located.

“The Frankfurt/London connection is one of the main areas of growth for the firm at the moment. We are looking for senior associates and partners out of London for all four of our German offices.”

The firm's offices are located in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. Frankfurt is by far the largest with 37 partners. Mayer brings the number of partners in Germany to 58.