Independents lose out as lateral hiring spree reshuffles German law firm pack

Independent and international firms have been waving farewell to a large number of partners in a month of heavy lateral ­hiring in Germany.

Frankfurt: Salans beefed up its office after Beiten raid
Frankfurt: Salans beefed up its office after Beiten raid

Beiten Burkhardt has been one of the hardest hit, losing a capital markets team to Salans and then a corporate partner to Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek.

Salans appointed a trio of Beiten lawyers to its Frankfurt office, led by partner Robert Michels. Their practice experience, which includes capital markets work for Central and Eastern European and CIS-based clients, fits in neatly with Salans’ own expertise in that region.

Meanwhile, Günther Bredow left Beiten’s Frankfurt office after 12 years ­acting for banks and ­medium- to large-sized ­corporates to join Heuking, saying he was “intrigued” by the opportunity to ­develop the office.

Hogan Lovells saw a number of departures as partners and other senior lawyers continue to leave the firm following the May 2010 merger between Hogan & Hartson and Lovells.

In July, a team of seven left for DLA Piper’s Munich office, although none of the departures were at partner level. The group included counsels Thomas Gädtke, Jan Bunnemann and Jonas Mark along with four associates and senior associates.

Gädtke and senior associate Thilo von Bodungen both became partners at DLA Piper.

However, Hogan Lovells did make some hires of its own last month, building up its Berlin office with a five-strong team, including two partners, from local firm Broich Bezzenberger. ­Corporate partners Karin Arnold and Thomas Keul said Hogan Lovells was “clearly the first choice” for a move, giving them a wider platform on which to build their practices.

Linklaters was also a ­target for lateral hires after capital markets partner Christoph Vaupel upped sticks for Taylor Wessing, taking with him two ­managing associates who will become fixed-share partners.

Vaupel’s hire is an effort by Taylor Wessing to ­dramatically raise the profile of its small capital markets practice.

Vaupel’s departure leaves Linklaters with three equity partners in its capital ­markets team.

Also in July, Linklaters competition partner Carsten Grave headed for Mayer Brown, tempted by the opportunity to act on antitrust litigation work.

Linklaters was the ­training ground for Olswang ­senior associate Monika Stöhr, who worked at the magic circle firm before joining Olswang. She is heading the media-focused firm’s new IP office in Hamburg alongside media and patent attorney Michael Fischer.

Olswang is using Hamburg to work with technology clients in its other European offices.

Independent firm Geyr Hintz & Partners also ­suffered a partner loss in July, as Bettina Plaßmann-Robertz moved to Osborne Clarke.

Plaßmann-Robertz is tasked with developing Osborne Clarke’s insurance practice in Cologne, working closely with product ­liability and automotive head Marcus Sacre.

Germany is not the only busy lateral recruitment market in Europe at ­present. France and Spain have also seen high levels of hiring since the start of 2011, as markets finally pick up following the financial crisis and firms seek to diversify their practices.