Watson Farley to merge in Hamburg

Watson Farley & Williams has taken over Hamburg-based firm WBS Wegner Bechtel Schmidt (WBS) to boost its fledgling German operation.

Under the terms of the merger, which was announced to clients last Friday (13 January), all four WBS partners have moved to Watson Farley as partners. They will be joined at the top 50 City firm by six other fee-earners.

Watson Farley managing partner Michael Greville said: “Our Hamburg strategy always envisaged expanding from a pure finance practice concentrating in the shipping and energy sector to offering an experienced tax and corporate capability.”

The takeover comes just months after the launch of Watson Farley’s Hamburg office. As first reported by The Lawyer (4 July 2005), Watson Farley established its first-ever German office last October following the appointment of German partners Thomas Hollenhorst, the head of legal at Berenberg Bank, Germany’s oldest bank, and Maren Brandes, a partner from Dr Schackow & Partner, to focus initially on shipping and shipping finance.