Lovells kills off Berlin

Lovells is taking an axe to its entire Berlin office following a radical review by the firm’s management.

The closure of the office, which is subject to approval by the partnership, will be completed by the end of the current financial year (30 April 2007).

The Berlin office is home to five partners and 15 associates. The firm has offered to relocate them to other offices.

Lovells’ Berlin office was rocked earlier in the year following the departure of its five-person banking team.

Restructuring and leveraged finance specialist Thomas Lindemann and acquisition finance partner Andreas Schwennicke are setting up their own firm with three associates. The new practice is due to open this autumn.

Following the group’s exit, Lovells decided to focus its banking practice on its Frankfurt office.

Lovells managing partner David Harris told The Lawyer that the firm’s Berlin office was not of strategic significance.

“We have decided that in the case of Berlin we don’t see any sense in investing in the office given that the firm has priorities elsewhere. Looking forward the office is unlikely to give the sort of financial return we’re looking for,” he said.

Lovells will continue to have offices in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich.

Lovells is the latest firm to pull the shutters down on its Berlin office. Magic circle firm Clifford Chance announced the closure of its Berlin office in November 2004.