Herbies hires partner from ex-ally Gleiss for German launch

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has secured a partner from former alliance partner Gleiss Lutz to help launch its first office in Germany.

Gleiss partner Ralf Thaeter, who specialises in domestic and cross border M&A, will join HSF on 1 April to help launch an office in Frankfurt. However, the new base is not expected to open until later in the second quarter of 2013. The news was first reported by Juve magazine.

It is not yet known if anyone else from Gleiss will join with Thaeter. Thaeter has been a partner at Gleiss since 1995 and led the firm’s Prague office between 1994 and 1997.

HSF has been looking to open an office in Germany since the collapse of its alliance with Gleiss and Benelux firm Stibbe at the beginning of 2012 (24 November 2011).

It was initially reported that HSF would open three offices in Germany (10 February 2012) – in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich – but corporate partner James Palmer told The Lawyer that, although the firm briefly considered its options in other German cities, this was not the case and that no further launches were planned.

Palmer added that HSF has remained on good terms with Gleiss and that the Thaeter hire was made amicably. He added that the firm is making progress with other lateral hires to join the firm in Frankfurt, but nothing has yet been settled.

HSF’s joint global head of corporate Patrick Mitchell was in charge of establishing the firm’s presence in Germany and although the initial focus of the office will be on M&A, it is likely that the firm will look to expand into litigation and finance.