Partnership splits as Linklaters axes Cologne

Linklaters.jpg” alt=”Partnership splits as Linklaters axes Cologne” />Linklaters has axed its Cologne office, the birthplace of German legacy firm Oppenhoff & Rädler with which Linklaters merged in 2001.

The closure follows a dispute over the firm’s German strategy after Linklaters opted to open in Dusseldorf.

Linklaters released a statement that said: “A number of partners in the Cologne office do not share the strategic vision of opening an office in Düsseldorf and the firm is engaged in constructive discussions with them.”

The Cologne office numbered 25 partners, two counsel and over 70 associates and has seen a spate of departures including its entire IP and trademarks team last year.

It is understood that 10 of the Cologne partners have agreed to transfer to open a new office for Linklaters in Düsseldorf with two former senior Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners Ralph Wollburg and Achim Kirchfeld, who were poached last week (as first revealed by German publication Juve 27 September).

The partners who agreed to move are mainly corporate partners and include the Cologne competition team and a tax partner. It is thought that the employment team may move to Frankfurt but the majority of partners and associates have yet to decide on their next move.