Linklaters & Alliance is sending one of its top London intellectual property (IP) partners to Germany in a bid to integrate the European practice into the rest of the group.
Nigel Jones, who has been in charge of coordinating the team in London run by partner Jeremy Brown, will move to the firm's Cologne office.
There are nine partners in the German offices of Linklaters, all of whom it gained when it merged with Oppenhoff & Rädler on 15 January this year.
Four partners left the Cologne IP practice rather than join the merged firm - Rainer Jacobs set up his own firm, Joachim Wessel is joining BBLP Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener, and Peter Sambuc and Gerhild Buchholz-Szilagyi both retired (The Lawyer, 15 January).
Jones says that his role is now to build the practice and integrate it across Europe.
He says: "The firm is global and has global ambitions, and those apply equally to the IP market as well. Germany is a major market for most of the firm's clients, and it is a jurisdiction where IP lawyers are very important.
"The reason for the decision to second someone from London is primarily motivated by the importance of Germany as a market. We feel that we need to build that practice from the high level that it already is and to integrate that practice with the other IP teams around the world, not least in London."
In the past year the firm has added IP capability in both Paris and Prague, hiring a Paris-based team from Cléry de la Myre Mory & Monégier du Sorbier and gaining Prague partner Stephen Kines through the Oppenhoff merger.
In the firm's annual round of partnership promotions, two out of the 38 new partners are joining the London IP department.
Jones says: "This is a move towards a global practice structure rather than having things all led out of London. Geographically, Cologne is more central to our offices around Europe than London is, and we are committing ourselves to working on a different model to the one we have adopted in the past. We believe this is more suitable to the global focus."