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PwC Veltins Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft - PricewaterhouseCoopers' German law firm - has hired three heads of departments and their staff from rival Heuking Kuhn Luer Heussen Wojtek.
Head of corporate and employment law Hans Stefan Korsch, head of IP Thomos Kerkhoff, and head of media, IT and telecommunications Michael Schmittmann are moving today (Monday).
Schmittmann is well-known in Germany as an expert in telecommunications and satellite technology law. A source says: "He is one of the first names in the industry."
Veltins' main office is in Frankfurt, but all three partners will stay in Dusseldorf where Heuking Kuhn is based.
Veltins is hiring a total of 17 people from Heuking, including assistant lawyers Dirk Stolz, Gabriela Stukenborg, Sebastian Kremer and Dominik Eickemeier. Another assistant is said to be negotiating to leave the firm.
Korsch says: "For the moment four assistants are joining and all our secretaries and support staff.
"For us the move is for the possibility of being able to work in a coherently structured firm and one with more international work.
"I thought the international structures especially were not as clear as they will be now. We will be able to offer better skilled teams with more experience than before."
Korsch refuses to go into any more detail on his reasons for leaving, but says that in Heuking Kuhn every lawyer is responsible for his own accounts rather than to a team.
He says: "Until now Heuking was more or less profit centre-oriented. That meant we were working on our own accounts. We do not have clearly structured departments."
He adds: "I will be building up the international side at Veltins."
Michael Veltins, founder and managing director of Veltins, says: "This will boost our e-business capacity. We will now have 23 lawyers in Dusseldorf." The firm has a total of 80 lawyers across Germany.
Veltins adds: "We started the firm on 1 January 1989 with five lawyers. Now we are very strong and are becoming stronger, especially in six areas - M&A, financial services, labour law, IP, IT and real estate."
He claims that Veltins is one of the largest property legal practices in Germany.