Linklaters IP team quits for Olswang

Linklaters IP team quits for Olswang” />Olswang has taken on a star team of eight lawyers from Linklaters in Germany, doubling the size of its burgeoning Berlin office.

Linklaters German managing partner Michael Lappe told German publication Juve he regretted the departure of the team but understood the step they had taken, in light of Linklaters’ German attempt at streamlining into a corporate transactional powerhouse.

Lappe told Juve that Olswang would be a more “suitable environment” in which to continue their practice and that he expected Linklaters to continue working with the team at Olswang if the firm required media expertise on transactions.

Olswang opened in Germany’s capital in January 2007 and had focussed mainly on real estate, privatisations and PPP projects. However, building a media practice was always a strategic goal.

The team includes the two existing Linklaters partners Stefan Lütje and Georg von Wallis from Munich and former Berlin managing associate Viola Bensinger who will also start at Olswang as partner.

They, along with many of their associates, are well-respected German IP media lawyers and recently advised the German government on the launch of the German film support fund. Lütje also advised German TV channel and media company ProSiebenSat.1 on its sale to KKR/Permira.

Linklaters has been realigning itself in Germany as a streamlined corporate transactional practice, culminating in the closure of its historic Cologne office in October 2007, opening up 25 miles down the river in Dusseldorf.

Linklaters lost around a dozen partners in the process who were said by the firm to have had “strategic differences” with the management. Many of these opened up a firm in Cologne under the name Oppenhoff & Partner, in a nod to Linklaters’ former merger partner when the firm first arrived in Germany in 2000.