White & Case shuts Dresden base

White & Case is closing its 18-year old Dresden office of seven lawyers.

Three of the office’s four departing partners will set up an office in Dresden in January 2009 for KPMG Legal. They will be joined by two White & Case associates.

M&A equity partner Axel Bauer is set to retire from White & Case by the end of the year.

A White & Case spokesperson said: “We are closing because our lead partner Axel Bauer is going to retire. That was his decision. When that came out the other members at the firm had an offer to go to KPMG. And it makes sense to us to close the office but still continue to offer our insolvency practice and what we do in Germany.”

Corporate equity partner Mathias Aldejohann will move with two local partners Steffen Lindner and Thomas Mulansky, and associates Inke Reuter and Thorsten Göhlert. The firm’s other Dresden associate will not accompany them.

White & Case will only maintain a small insolvency presence in Dresden, reports German law magazine Juve.

The closure of Dresden follows White & Case’s recent withdrawal from Italy after the firm shut down its Milan office (TheLawyer.com, 22 October).

KPMG launched in Germany in May 2007 with a recruitment spree from firms such as KDM Kessler and the Leipzig office of Beiten Burkhardt.

KPMG Legal now employs over 100 lawyers in 15 locations after lateral hires from firms including Nörr Stiefenhofer Lutz, Allen & Overy, Taylor Wessing, Latham & Watkins, Morgan Lewis and White & Case.

KPMG Legal focuses on commercial law in the bank and capital markets field, as well as employment law.

Several large firms have in recent years beaten a strategic retreat from the Saxony region, of which Dresden is the capital.

In March of this year CMS Cameron McKenna alliance firm CMS Hasche Sigle closed its Chemnitz office and but it still maintains presences in Leipzig und Dresden. Nörr also retains an office in Dresden.