Oppenhoffs partners take the plunge over Linklaters alliance

PARTNERS at German firm Oppenhoff & RAdler were due to vote over the weekend on whether to form an alliance with Linklaters.

The vote, which was scheduled to take place after The Lawyer went to press, could clear the way for Linklaters to join the powerful Alliance of European Lawyers, of which Oppenhoffs is a member.

But it could also jeopardise the firm's relationship with its German associate Schon Nolte Finkelnburg & Clemm.

Schon Nolte partner Hans-Jurgen Rabe said that whether or not his firm continued to co-operate with Linklaters in Frankfurt, where the two operate a joint venture office, was 'an open question'.

Officially Oppenhoffs was remaining coy last about the possibility of an alliance with Linklaters last week.

Spokesman Hanno Goltz, a partner at the firm, said a range of issues would be discussed at a partnership retreat. He said: 'If the matter comes up, we will discuss the possibilities.'

However, one partner said the Linklaters' tie was on the agenda while another said that the issue had been discussed within the partnership 'ad nauseum', adding that a vote could go either way.

Oppenhoffs has been in talks with Linklaters for a year in the context of broader negotiations over the UK firm's entry to the Alliance.

An Alliance source said that some member firms had already voted in favour of the Linklaters deals. But the French representative Jeantet & Associes is believed to be resisting the move.