Gaedertz IP chief quits as Mayer Brown marriage is confirmed

Zindel quits for Jones Day as 20 Gaedertz Franfurt partners sign for Mayer Brown & Platt

Chicago-based firm Mayer Brown & Platt is merging with the Frankfurt office of Gaedertz as the head of the office’s intellectual property (IP) department jumps ship.

Highly-rated IP partner Johannes Zindel is leaving to head the IP practice at the Frankfurt office of Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, having weighed up the possibility of staying with the merged firm. His decision to join Jones Day was fueled by the strength if its IP practice.

Zindel’s departure comes as junior IP partner Adi Seffer also leaves the practice to join the Frankfurt practice of Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

The remaining 20 Gaedertz partners in Frankfurt will link up with Mayer Brown as from 1 April, giving the Chicago firm its third new office in as many months. Last week, The Lawyer revealed the firm’s plans to open in Silicon Valley, while earlier this year the firm merged with France’s Lambert & Lee (19 March).

Six of the 20 partners joining Mayer Brown specialise in IP, with the office also strong in M&A, anti-trust and IT.

Mayer Brown London managing partner Ian Coles says that the firm now plans to develop a Europe-wide structured finance practice. “We have seven or eight people doing securitisation in London, and we’re looking for more people,” he says. “Every office does securitisation, and in addition to what we’ve got in London, we want to add that capability in Paris and Frankfurt – we’d like 20 or 30 lawyers doing this across the three offices.”

The two firms share clients, including Credit Suisse First Boston and drug company Novartis.

Gaedertz voted for the merger in February, but there has been a long delay between the vote and signing the formal agreement, which finally took place just over a week ago.

A source says that the delay was caused by a dispute between Gaedertz’s Frankfurt, Cologne and Hamburg offices about costs resulting from the dissolution of the firm. He claims that Frankfurt blamed the Hamburg office for the split and refused to pay costs. Gaedertz Frankfurt partner Johann-Christoph Gaedertz denies the allegations.

At the same time, the Hamburg office, which is merging with Latham & Watkins, is losing its shipping practice.

Partners Dieter Rabe and Jan Wölper, who are both specialists in maritime law, will join CMS Hasche Sigle Eschenlohr Peltzer Schäfer in Hamburg.