Ernst & Young firm in German limbo

Ernst & Young’s German firm Luther Menold lost two partners last week.

Real estate partner Martin Meissner defected to the Frankfurt office of US firm Latham & Watkins, while corporate partner Frank Zahn will move to Görg’s Berlin office.

The departures come at a difficult time for the firm. Germany’s Ministry of Justice canvassed views three weeks ago on restrictions for those who provide audit and other professional services, but the government is proving slow to tackle the issue, leaving accountancy-tied firms in a state of damaging uncertainty.

Luther Menold managing partner Stefan Kraus said it was unrelated to the regulatory situation and, as they were fairly junior, it would not cause the 100-partner firm a problem.

Meissner told The Lawyer he wanted to move to a US and a pure law practice, but claimed that he was not influenced by regulatory changes.