Linnells takes first step to German friendship

Oxford firm courts lower-end work from Macfarlanes' German friend Nörr Stiefenhofer

Oxford-based Linnells is planning to increase its European presence by developing links with German firm Nörr Stiefenhofer Lutz.
The two firms are hosting a joint seminar, which Linnells hopes will raise the firm's international profile and build on its current relationship with Nörr Stiefenhofer.
Three partners from the German firm will come to England for the seminar, which will examine various issues surrounding UK companies entering the German market.
The discussions will have an intellectual property focus and will concentrate on issues such as agency distribution, internet advertising, targeting the relevant markets and patents.
The move follows earlier seminars that Linnells set up with Atlanta-based Kilpatrick Stockton, which centred on the issues facing UK companies doing business in the US.
Organising the seminars is Linnells corporate finance partner Peter Elliott, who was previously head of legal at Burmah Castrol.
He said that he wants to build on his international contacts and hopes that the seminar programme will give Linnells the opportunity to work with Nörr Stiefenhofer in the future.
The German firm already has a relationship with City firm Macfarlanes, but Elliott said there may be certain types of work that Linnells is better suited to.
“Macfarlanes may be too large for some clients, and we'd be playing in a different market to them,” he said.
Since the seminars with Kilpatrick, Linnells has worked alongside the US firm on an acquisition.
Elliot said that being seen to be working alongside a big US firm gave Linnells access to more clients.
He added: “There's a big pool of companies in the Thames Valley that are both clients and potential clients. Showing that we have the capability to work with non-UK lawyers will help our business.”
Linnells was set to merge with Cambridge-based Hewitson Becke + Shaw in a move that would have created the first Oxford-Cambridge link-up. Hewitons broke off the discussions at the end of September, however, claiming that it wanted to merge with a more commercial practice.