US firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and German firm Hölters & Elsing have sealed their merger after partnership votes concluded on the weekend (The Lawyer, 8 September).
The merged firm will be known as Orrick Hölters & Elsing in Germany and will have 55 lawyers in three German offices. Hölters former managing partner Arno Frings said that the combined firm will aim to double the headcount in the next three to five years.
The union was sealed after nine-month negotiations that saw Orrick guarantee the German firm that it would be allowed to maintain its existing overseas friends relationships, billing rates and clients.
Orrick's European managing partner David Syed said: "Hölters were looking to preserve their independence from a local standpoint and sometimes the international firms forget that - they squash the local name and the local reputation in all of the years that they've spent building it up.”
Frings added that the guarantee over international firm friendships came about as Hölters had strong international relationships firmly in place and agreed that Orrick’s international network was not yet developed enough. It is understood that Hölters works with around 10 firms in the UK and more than 10 in the US.
Along with Frings, Hölters co-founding partner Siegfried Elsing will be represented on the merged firm's European supervisory committee. Elsing will also sit on the worldwide executive committee, which includes global managing Ralph Baxter, Syed and five others.
Syed added that Orrick would next be looking at mergers in Russia, Poland, Spain and the Middle East. He said that no potential merger targets had yet been identified but added: "We are doing a very broad survey of the market and seeing who's available."