Munich-based Gottfried Breuninger is one of Shearman’s most senior, and joins A&O with local M&A partner Astrid Krüger.
The departures will be a heavy blow for Shearman, which earlier this year had also lost its entire Mannheim office, which split from the firm to become an independent (TheLawyer.com, 22 April), and global M&A head and rainmaker Rolf Koerfer, who also went to A&O (10 January).
Shearman’s Munich base is understood to have only tax partner Thomas Fox, M&A partner Markus Rieder and M&A counsel Winfried Carli remaining. It is understood that Carli will be promoted to partner by January 2009.
Shearman German management board member Hans Jürgen Meyer Lindemann said that Breuninger’s departure had not been unexpected for the firm after the loss of Koerfer and the Mannheim office. Meyer Lindemann added that this was due to all three operating along similar client lines.
However, Shearman German co-managing partner Harald Selzner said that the firm remained committed to its Munich office.
A&O’s latest hires are a significant scoop for the firm, resulting in the fifth German office for the firm, after Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Mannheim.
A&O German senior partner Cornelius Fischer-Zernin said: “The Bavarian state capital is one of the most important locations in the German legal market and is also one of the major European economic centres.
“Gottfried Breuninger and Astrid Krüger enjoy an excellent reputation in Munich and beyond. They form a great start-up team, which I am convinced will prove a real asset to our practice in Germany.”