A&O opens in Hamburg with White & Case trio

Magic circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O) has hired three top partners from White & Case Feddersen to set up an office in Hamburg.

Corporate M&A and energy partner Cornelius Fischer-Zernin and corporate M&A and telecoms partners Helge Schäfer and Mark Hoenike will launch the office on 1 May. Frankfurt partner Reinhard Hermes is also expected to relocate from Frankfurt. It will be A&O’s second office in Germany, following the launch of its Frankfurt practice in 1994.

Germany’s managing partner Mark Welling says that it was the people rather than the location that prompted the move to Hamburg. “Telecoms and energy were areas of relative weakness, but now we have one of the strongest teams in Germany,” he says.

The move fits in well with A&O’s pan-European practice, which has a strong telecoms focus in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and France. Fischer-Zernin says: “At White & Case there was too much competition between the offices. It’s a question of deciding whether each office will act as a firm in its own right, or whether they will cooperate to create a unified firm,” says Fischer-Zernin.