Third female partner departs CC Munich

City litigators are queuing up to take a swipe at Mr Justice Lightman after his withering attack on commercial lawyers.

Clifford Chance Pünder’s Munich office has lost its third female partner in 12 months, as corporate specialist Annette Kespohl leaves the firm to join niche practice Weitnauer Rechtsanwälte.

In April 2002 China specialist Sabine Stricker-Kellerer quit and in July that year former Pünder managing partner and real estate specialist Irene Thiele-Muhlhan resigned to set up her own business. Stricker-Kellerer subsequently joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Out of 115 partners in Germany, Clifford Chance Pünder has only two female equity partners: corporate partner Daniela Weber-Rey and employment partner Nicole Engesser-Means, both based in Frankfurt. However, salaried partners make up around half of the German partnership, and 17 of those are women. Sources say the delicate balance between Clifford Chance Pünder’s equity and non-equity partners will become ever more fraught in the coming financial year.

Clifford Chance senior partner Peter Cornell said: “We try our hardest to ensure there are equal opportunities at the firm.”

Kespohl could not be reached for comment.