Lovells’ Frankfurt focus causes unrest in Berlin

Lovells’ decision to focus its German banking practice on the Frankfurt office has caused a five-person team from Berlin to quit.

Restructuring and leveraged finance specialist Thomas Lindemann and acquisition finance partner Andreas Schwennicke are setting up their own firm with three associates. It is due to open in the autumn.

Lovells managing partner David Harris said: “Our focus on international banking work is through strengthening our Frankfurt banking practice. As a result we’re disappointed by the Berlin partners’ plans to leave, although not altogether surprised.”

The Berlin office has suffered a series of departures since the firm decided last year that it should focus on regulatory and project finance work.

In February 2005, Berlin managing partner Volkmar Jesch and real estate partner Nicholas Ley left to launch their own boutique.

The departures leave Lovells’ Berlin office with five partners covering commercial litigation, environmental and public procurement law.

The fortunes of international firms in Berlin have been mixed. Salans recently took over the Haarmann Hemmelrath office in its first move into Germany, while Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw and Hammonds have boosted their Berlin offices with new hires. In 2004 Clifford Chance closed its Berlin office due to poor profits.