Graf von Westphalen, the German independent firm associated with Wragge & Co, has voted to overhaul its management board and to streamline its leadership.

It has strengthened the roles of its two managing partners, Barbara Mayer and Lothar Harings, and chosen to reduce the size of its board of partners to five partners from nine.

Mayer told The Lawyer: “[With the changes] we want to improve the focus and efficiency of the firm.”

Graf von Westphalen opened up offices in Hong Kong und Guangzhou with Wragges at the beginning of this year.

Only last week Graf von Westphalen recruited European counsel Eric Messenzehl from Jones Day for its Frankfurt office, where he will become a partner. The firm opened its Frankfurt office only in early 2006 with five partners but has now grown to twelve fee-earners.

Mayer said: “We are in talks with many laterals at the moment and have seen much interest. We are optimistic in our continued growth but are not interested in doing so at any price. You could say we are quite picky.”

It is one of the larger independent German firms with a turnover of £23m, more than 110 fee-earners and remarkable profits per equity partner of around £370,000 considering a leverage below 1:1 – one of the firm’s selling points.