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SJ Berwin has lost its German head of EU and competition after Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy swooped for Alexander Rinne to launch its own European antitrust practice.
Rinne, who will be joined at Milbank’s Munich office by associates Andreas Boos and Tatjana Muehlbach, has been with SJ Berwin since 2001.
The departure leaves the firm with just one partner in its German EU and competition team.
Peter Nussbaum, one of three founding partners of the US firm’s Munich office, said: “When we left Freshfields [Bruckhaus Deringer] we used Alex on most of our deals and we’ve developed an excellent relationship and so it was a logical step.
“He’s a great guy and for us at Milbank it’s not just about making strategic decisions, but about trying to get the best people in the market. If it hadn’t been someone of his calibre we wouldn’t have started the practice.”
Nussbaum added that the new practice group would be likely to grow but would not be drawn on its ideal size.
He added: “We’ll build it, but in the Milbank way. Our only thought is to have excellent lawyers doing quality work.”
Milbank tried to expand its Munich officer earlier this year with the hire of Hengeler Mueller corporate partner Wolfgang Grobecker (5 January 2010).
However, after Hengeler issued a statement saying that Grobecker had left the firm due to “unacceptable personal conduct” (11 January 2010) he left Milbank after just 10 days (11 January 2010).
Grobecker now works at German independent P+P Poellath + Partners (17 February 2010).