Dewey gets private equity back on track

Dewey Ballantine has poached Norton Rose corporate partner Markus Federle, who will restart its private equity push following the departure of the founder of the firm’s German practice Geza Toth.

Federle, a rated corporate and private equity lawyer, has not been put on gardening leave from Norton Rose and joins Dewey’s Frankfurt office this week. It is expected that Dewey will continue to work closely with Norton Rose in areas where it has no capacity, such as tax, antitrust and employment.

Federle’s departure from Norton Rose comes amid growing suggestions of conflict between the firm’s Cologne and Frankfurt offices, which often compete with one another for work. Norton Rose did not return calls for comment on this point.

Last December, Dewey parted company with Toth, the firm’s only German corporate private equity lawyer, following a dispute over the firm’s European strategy. Federle’s recruitment reinstates the firm’s partner-level corporate private equity capacity.

His recruitment follows the hire of tax star Hanno Berger, who joined with a team of associates last month. Federle will be the third partner in Dewey’s Frankfurt office, joining German managing partner and finance lawyer Philipp von Ilberg, a lateral hire from Clifford Chance.

Berger, who is well connected in the local private equity market, is expected to take some clients with him and will work closely with Ilberg. He is not taking a team of assistants because Toth recruited some before he left. Illberg said a further partner-level corporate hire is imminent.