Linklaters raids Freshfields for Düsseldorf launch

Linklaters raids Freshfields for Düsseldorf launch” />Linklaters has carried out a daring raid on Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to open an office in Düsseldorf.

Two of Freshfields’ most renowned corporate partners in Germany have moved over to their magic circle rival to open Linklaters’ 31st international office and its fifth German operation, reported local magazine Juve today.

Ralph Wollburg and Achim Kirchfeld have both been corporate partners at Freshfields for over 20 years. Both are prominent names and Wollburg was a one-time candidate for the Freshfields’ senior partner job, now filled by compatriot Konstantin Mettenheimer, as well as London-based Guy Morton.

It is understood that the pair have not yet left Freshfields and the partnership vote at Linklaters is still to be passed.

But if successful, it will be the second time in the last four months that Freshfields’ Düsseldorf office has been raided by a rival magic circle firm. Allen & Overy (A&O) took Freshfields’ former managing partner in Düsseldorf Thomas Austmann to open an office there in June (, 29 June). Austmann had left Freshfields in March.

Freshfields still has 30 partners in Duesseldorf and another five German offices.

Linklaters and Freshfields declined to comment.