Bakers to rival Clifford Chance in Dusseldorf

Baker & McKenzie is to open a new office in Germany to accommodate a rapidly expanding market.

The office will open in Dusseldorf on 1 April and will be the firm's fourth office in Germany's regionalised market and its 60th worldwide.

Baker & McKenzie's objective is to fight its way back up the ratings. In the past 10 years, the firm has fallen from sixth place in the country down to number 20.

After Frankfurt, Dusseldorf is the second most important market in Germany where only Clifford Chance, of the leading UK law firms, has an office.

Clifford Chance says it welcomes the competition because there is plenty of work – Germany represents 30 per cent of the EU market – and because it vindicates its decision to open there.

John Howard, the executive director of Baker & McKenzie's German offices, says: “We are growing organically, which is slower and harder but which produces better results in terms of quality and consistency.”

The Dusseldorf office has the initial capacity for 15 fee earners and will be run by two German partners from the Frankfurt office.

Partner in the City office Peter Knight says: “Baker & McKenzie will also be able to fill what it perceives to be an existing gap in the local market for international legal services.”

Baker & McKenzie's Almaty office is in crisis after staff and client losses.