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German firm Noerr has announced plans to launch in Brussels within the next year on the back of a growing volume of regulatory work.
Noerr partner Alexander Birnstiel, who specialises in cartel work and co-heads the firm’s regulatory and governmental affairs department, will be in charge of developing the office.
There is no set timescale for the launch, but co-managing partner Alexander Ritvay said it would be in “the coming months”.
The move follows the closure of Noerr’s former joint venture with US firm O’Melveny & Myers, Macfarlanes and Simeon & Associés in Brussels at the end of the 1990s.
Fellow managing partner Tobias Bürgers added: “The intensity of regulation is increasing and increasingly important developments for national law in the individual states originate from Brussels. The office therefore strengthens not only our capacity in cartel and subvention law but also our services for companies in regulated industries such as banking, insurance and energy.”
Birnstiel said the office would in the medium to long term offer a full range of EU law, and the plan was to hire lawyers in Brussels as well as relocate lawyers from existing Noerr offices, including Central and Eastern Europe.
He added that the firm already does a fair amount of work in Brussels, but felt the need to have a more permanent presence there.
“We’re not a new kid on the block, we just think now is the time to reopen,” he said. “We won’t go into Brussels to have a letterbox only.”
Brussels will be Noerr’s first new office since it moved into Alicante in 2011 with a duo of hires from Hogan Lovells (25 April 2011). The firm also launched in London in 2010 (11 March 2010) as part of its strategy to become a pan-European player.
The launch follows a strong year for Noerr, which announced a 7 per cent turnover rise to €170m (£148.6m) (13 March 2013) for the 2012 financial year.
Meanwhile Noerr has also announced that it has signed an exclusive cooperation agreement with German patent firm Bosch Jehle, which has offices in Munich, Düsseldorf, Alicante and Shenzhen in China.
Ritvay said the cooperation agreement would give clients comprehensive advice on IP strategy, management and protection from a single source.