Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is launching a third office in Germany, opening in Düsseldorf with the hire of former Clifford Chance partner Thomas Weimann.

Weimann has started work at the firm but the Düsseldorf office will go live in the New Year, once the firm has organised the necessary infrastructure. 

The move is the latest stage in HSF’s rapid German expansion. The firm opened in the jurisdiction in April 2013 with the hire of Gleiss Lutz partner Ralf Thaeter, following the dissolution of its alliance with the German firm.

The firm now has around 30 lawyers in its Berlin and Frankfurt offices.

Competition partner Michael Dietrich and his team will also relocate to Düsseldorf when the office is open.

Thaeter said the launch was integral to the firm’s strategy for Germany.

“Our plan to become a leading firm over time can only be put in practice if we’re a nationwide recognised firm, and this is the next step to reach that,” he told The Lawyer. “Düsseldorf will become a focus of the firm in disputes with Thomas, possibly with other hires, and it’s expected that there’ll be a very important corporate practice there because the competition in Düsseldorf is very strong in corporate.”

Thaeter said HSF felt it needed to have a presence in the city to serve German blue-chip companies, especially in the industrial sector.

Weimann was a partner and head of the Düsseldorf litigation and arbitration team at Clifford Chance for a number of years. He left the firm in April this year to set up his own practice.

He brings experience in arbitration and litigation with a focus on post-M&A construction and engineering disputes.

Last week Clifford Chance hired its first partner in Germany for some time with the appointment of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Anselm Raddatz. The magic circle firm has lost a series of partners over the course of 2015, after reviewing its German operations following the appointment of Peter Dieners as local managing partner last year.

Düsseldorf is the third new international location which HSF has announced in the last fortnight. It confirmed a Johannesburg launch and a re-entry into Saudi Arabia in late October.