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US employment firm Ogletree Deakins is set to enter the European market with office launches in London and Berlin before the end of the year.
The firm has hired Webster Dixon co-founder Michael Webster as managing partner of the London base. He will take all his contentious work to the new firm.
In Germany, meanwhile, Ogletree has hired a three-partner team from Salans for its Berlin launch, including global employment co-chair Henrik Muchal. He is joined by Salans partners Marcus Longino and Carsten Brachmann.
The three partners all have experience in advising international clients, while the latter two have developed expertise in managing employment law issues associated with corporate restructurings and reorganisations.
In a statement, managing shareholder Kim Ebert commented: “We’re opening these offices with lawyers who have a history of working together and who share our philosophy.”
Webster said his move had been prompted by an aim to move into the international employment market. He added: “I’ve been working with Ogletree for some time. As a natural consequence of that a lot of the work I’ve been doing has been international.”
Webster is considered a leading employment specialist who has worked on both the claimant and the defendant side. Prior to establishing Webster Dixon, he was head of litigation at Conway & Co and also worked in-house at now-defunct Lehman Brothers International.
The move had been prompted by client demand in the US for local employment advice in world city hubs.
Ogletree, he added, had set itself the objective of becoming the leading employment firm in the world.
“The opening of the London and Berlin offices is just the start an ambitious expansion plan to serve the requirements of their clients on a global scale,” Webster said.
The future of Webster Dixon is uncertain, with Ogletree set to take over the office when it opens in London before the end of the year.
The Berlin office is expected to open on 1 December.