Linklaters has lost high-profile German real estate partner Hans-Dieter Schulz-Gebeltzig to Norton Rose together with a second partner and an associate. Schulz-Gebeltzig will be joined in Norton Roses Frankfurt office by fellow partner Axel Kunze, an associate, with the possibility of further associates to come. In the past Schulz-Gebeltzig has advised Swisscom on the outsourcing of two of its property portfolios, deals collectively worth around £1bn. Schulz-Gebeltzigs practice also focuses around a considerable amount of fund work, which will complement the German openended fund work undertaken by Norton Rose in the UK. The departures follow that of Cologne real estate head Hans Busch in October last year, following a strategic realignment to focus on higher-end work. However, global real estate head Patrick Plant said the latest departures were not connected to Linklaters policy. "If anything were looking to expand in Germany, subject to the right people," he added. However, one source said that the changes in the real estate practice in London were making the German partners "very edgy". The hires is an important one for Norton Rose, which lost its German real estate capability following the departure of nine partners that joined as part of the firms merger with the Cologne office of the now defunct Gaedertz. "We were looking for people that were not purely focused on domestic work," said Lindsay Morgan, head of international real estate at Norton Rose.