Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) has dissolved its European Legal Alliance of independent European firms after falling out with its German ally Buse Heberer Fromm.
The UK firm has launched its own operations in Germany and Belgium with a raid on Buse and former Belgian friend Verhaegen Walravens to launch its own offices in Hamburg and Brussels.
It is understood that the German and UK firms could not reach agreement on fundamental points of international strategy including such areas as how to tackle the US and which practice areas to focus on.
FFW partner Mark Abell said in a statement: “We now have a much higher level of integration and communication and our presence in each country will be built on the strength of local lawyers and their reputation.”
Simultaneously, FFW has entered merger discussions with the French member of the Alliance, Dubarry.
The firm’s Scottish and Irish allies (Harper Macleod and Beauchamps respectively) have been set adrift as the firm looks to focus on the continent.
The Spanish arm of the European Legal Alliance, Jimenez de Parga, has formed an exclusive alliance with FFW while Italian member La Scala is in talks to create a closer bond.
The initial focus in Germany will be on corporate and IP. The team is led by corporate finance partner Frank Moerchen, with associates Michael Adam and Thomas Demmel (both corporate) and Philipp Plog (IP) joining FFW as partners.
In Belgium, Eric Cusas (commercial and insolvency) will lead the FFW office with Emmanuel Roger France (technology and corporate fraud) and Pierre Frühling (EU and competition).