Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s hugely successful German corporate group has embarked on a wide-ranging review similar to that recently completed by its London counterpart.
Along with Hengeler Mueller, Freshfields is acknowledged as one of Germany’s top two corporate practices. Consequently, the motivation for a practice review is considerably different from the London group, which told The Lawyer last week that it had lost ground.
However, the departure last year of Peter Nussbaum and his team to Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy is seen as a spur to group leaders such as Hamburg-based private equity head Nils Koffka to shake things up.
Freshfields private equity co-head Chris Bown confirmed that Germany was reviewing corporate. He said the intention was that the firm’s client relationship model, in which two partners are responsible for each client, was likely to remain.
“In Germany we aim for two offices for each client because of the parallel mandate rules,” said Bown, referring to rules that allow a firm to advise more than one bidder on a deal providing the teams are sufficiently separated, much like the function of Chinese walls in London.
The 75-partner corporate team, headed by Andreas Fabritius in Frankfurt, has been one of Freshfields’ biggest success stories recently, with instructions on most of Germany’s major mergers, including the €15.4bn (£10.37bn) banking deal between UniCredito and HypoVereinsbank.