Take a Chance

We keep trying not to write too much about Linklaters, honest. But the magic circle firm just keeps turning up the heat on its rivals.

Its hire of Clifford Chance partner Kolja von Bismarckis its most significant move in Germany since it poached Freshfields stars Ralph Wollburg and Achim Kirchfeld to open in Dusseldorf (see story).

Von Bismarck’s departure punches a big fat hole in Clifford Chance’s restructuring practice in Germany, at precisely the wrong point in the economic cycle.

Much like the US, where Harvey Miller at Weil, Corinne Ball at Jones Day and Martin Bienenstock at Dewey have carved out astonishing personal reputations, the German restructuring market is one where individuals dominate.

Clifford Chance will argue that it has plenty of strength in depth, but the fact is that von Bismarck – who acted on the restructuring of General Motors – is one of an elite trio that also includes Lars Westpfhal at Freshfields and Frank Grell at Latham & Watkins.

Make no mistake: Linklaters has landed one big fish.