Wolf Theiss team quits to launch Viennese litigation boutique

A team of five lawyers from Austrian heavyweight Wolf Theiss have quit the firm to launch a litigation boutique in Vienna.

The boutique, Knoetzl, is led by former Wolf Theiss litigation head Bettina Knoetzl. She has been joined in the new venture by Wolf Theiss’s former arbitration head Florian Haugeneder and Platte Rechtsanwälte arbitration partner Patrizia Netal.

The founders also include Wolf Theiss litigation counsel Katrin Hanschitz and Axel Thoss and arbitration-focused senior associate Emmanuel Kaufman, who all join Knoetzl as partners.

Knoetzl said the firm would focus on commercial disputes, business crime, crisis management and compliance.

The team brings experience in a range of disputes and arbitration. In particular, Haugeneder and Kaufman worked together on a successful arbitration for Coca-Cola, said to be the largest in the history of the company.

In a statement Wolf Theiss thanked Knoetzl for her work. She has been replaced as litigation head by Clemens Trauttenberg.

Knoetzl is the latest in a string of litigation boutiques to have been established across Europe in the past few years. Last year a group of lawyers from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Moscow office set up Kulkov Kolotilov & Partners and Holman Fenwick Willan Geneva partner Matthew Parish left to set up boutique Gentium Law.

In 2014 a team of partners from Freshfields, Covington & Burling, Jones Day and Shearman & Sterling established Three Crowns and in Germany, Cologne-based Freshfields partner Christian Borris launched Borris Hennecke Kneisel with fellow Freshfields arbitrators Sebastian Kneisel and Rudolph Hennecke.

The previous year Bonelli Erede Pappalardo arbitrator Luca Radicati di Brozolo launched Italian boutique Arblit while in 2012 Hogan Lovells partner Jean-Georges Betto set up Paris boutique Betto-Seraglini.