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The last remaining office of defunct German law firm Gaedertz has been swallowed up as the firm's Berlin presence, now renamed as Quack, is set to merge with Washington DC-based Wilmer Cutler & Pickering.
At a press conference scheduled for today (12 November), the two firms are expected to announce their merger, which it is believed will take effect from January 2002. The move will boost Wilmer Cutler's presence in the city from four to 17 partners. Wilmer Cutler set up an office in Berlin in 1993 in response to pressure from two of its largest clients, Lufthansa and Viag Interkom. Its focus there was on aviation, transport and telecommunications. However, since then the firm has added a competition and corporate capability and the Berlin office now mirrors its DC counterpart, advising predominantly on the trade and political side of deals. It also has a strong office in Brussels, where it advises on EU competition law. The merger is a decent fit because Quack is also strong in corporate and competition and will give Wilmer Cutler the critical mass that it requires. Despite having only a single office in Berlin, Quack is well connected in the German domestic market and has contacts within many major German companies. It will also give Wilmer Cutler a tax and patent capability. Gaedertz split earlier this year when its Hamburg office merged with US firm Latham & Watkins, the Cologne office merged with Norton Rose and the Frankfurt office merged with Mayer Brown & Platt. Both Wilmer Cutler and Quack declined to comment.