Herbies strengthens nascent Frankfurt base with Norton Rose hire

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has appointed Norton Rose’s Frankfurt corporate team leader Nico Abel as its second partner for its new German offices.

Abel joined Norton Rose in 2005 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He focuses on cross-border M&A transactions, joint ventues, carve-outs and distressed M&A, advising strategic investors and private equity sponsors.

The news follows HSF’s hire of Gleiss Lutz corporate partner Ralf Thaeter to launch its presence in Frankfurt earlier this year (13 February 2013). The firm later confirmed it is also planning a Berlin launch (2 April 2013).

The move into Germany follows the collapse of legacy Herbert Smith’s alliance with Gleiss Lutz and Benelux firm Stibbe in 2011 (24 November 2011).

Thaeter said one of the firm’s principal goals as it set up in Germany was to build a high-quality German corporate offering. Further partner hires in Germany are expected in the coming months.

At Norton Rose corporate partner Frank Regelin took over as corporate team leader in Frankfurt on 1 May. The firm’s Frankfurt managing partner Thomas Hopf pointed to the recent promotion of five partners in Germany, including three in corporate, as proof of the firm’s strength in the jurisdiction (24 April 2013).

Norton Rose is left with 17 corporate partners across its three German offices.