European moves: 6 February 2014

All the latest partner hires and other appointments within Continental European firms and offices.


Austrian firm Schoenherr is moving to staff its Brussels office full-time, after 20 years with a representative presence in Belgium (30 January 2014). Vienna-based partner Volker Weiss is relocating to Brussels to head up the operation and will lead a team of EU and competition specialists from across Schoenherr’s network of Central and Eastern European offices.

French firm Lazareff Le Bars is launching an office in Brussels through the hire of Janson Baugniet corporate partner Henri-Paul Lemaitre. Lemaitre will head up the new office, alongside associate Audrey Goessens.

Luxembourg firm Kleyr Grasso Associés has made a lateral partner hire from Linklaters, appointing Jean-Paul Spang as its ninth partner (24 January 2014). Spang will join the firm on 1 February 2014. He has been a partner at Linklaters and its legacy firms in Luxembourg since 1998.

Dutch firm Stek Advocaten has hired Norton Rose Fulbright partner Herman Wamelink. Wamelink acts for both financiers and borrowers and has extensive experience in cross-border transactions, and will develop Stek’s banking and finance practice with a focus on leveraged finance and general corporate lending.

Linklaters has hired senior competition lawyer Nikolaos (Nick) Peristerakis for its Brussels office. Peristerakis joins the magic circle firm as a counsel from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, where he held the same role.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has promoted Brussels competition lawyer Adrien Giraud to partner. His practice encompasses the entire spectrum of European, French and American competition law issues.

Central & Eastern Europe (CEE)

Dentons partners have unanimously elected partner Evan Lazar as chair of the firm’s European board (24 January 2014). Lazar replaces fellow legacy Salans partner François Chateau in the role. Chateau is also Dentons’ global vice-chair and will continue in that position. Dentons’ incoming European CEO, Tomasz Dabrowski, and outgoing European CEO, Dariusz Oleszczuk, were also elected to the six-strong board alongside European corporate co-chair John Flanigan, German managing partner Andreas Ziegenhagen and Kiev managing partner Oleg Batyuk.

Meanwhile Dentons’ CEE real estate head Pawel Debowski has been appointed as European co-chair of the firm’s global real estate group, alongside Eric Rosedale.

Romanian firms Mares Danilescu Mares and Buneci & Buneci have signed a collaboration for white-collar crime cases. Mares Danilescu will gain from Buneci’s experience in white-collar crime, while Buneci will have access to Mares Danilescu’s business law expertise.

Schoenherr has promoted Vienna-based partner Ursula Rath into its equity partnership. The capital markets specialist joined the equity on 1 February.

Czech firm Weinhold Legal has strengthened its expertise in labour law and litigation with the arrival of senior lawyer Anna Bartunkova. Bartunkova joins Weinhold from Czech firm Holec Zuska & Partners.


K&L Gates has added Jean-Patrice Labautière as a partner in its French corporate practice. Labautière joins K&L Gates from Allen & Overy, where he practised for 15 years.

US firm Reed Smith has returned to Hogan Lovells for a senior partner hire in Paris, bringing in corporate partner Isabelle MacElhone and associate Bertrand Baheu-Derras (31 January 2014). MacElhone, who began her career at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, becoming a partner in 1990, will be Reed Smith’s fifth corporate partner in Paris.

Stephenson Harwood has boosted its Paris office with the hire of Yann Beckers as a partner in its banking and finance department. Beckers was previously a counsel at Clifford Chance.

Ginestié Magellan Paley-Vincent has hired IP specialist Sandra Strittmatter as its new head of IP/IT. Strittmatter joins the firm from Pernod Ricard, where she has held the role of senior IP counsel since 2009.

Nomos has promoted counsel Christophe Moreau to its partnership. Moreau joined the firm’s tax team in 2011 from White & Case.


King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s Rudiger Knopf has stepped down from his post after 16 years as German managing partner (4 February 2014). Knopf intends to return his focus to client activity, within his specialist area of M&A. He will be replaced by a pair of co-managing partners, Sonya Pauls, who leads the firm’s international funds practice in Germany and heads up its Munich office, and Stefan Krüger who leads the firm’s German IP practice from Frankfurt.

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has added to its German capabilities with the hire of a litigation partner from Baker & McKenzie in Frankfurt (3 February 2014). Matthias Wittinghofer becomes the fourth partner at HSF in Germany, following the firm’s launch in Frankfurt last April. He is the first litigator to join the firm in Germany since the launch.

Travel giant Tui has hired a new general counsel for its group headquarters in Hanover, Germany, appointing former Clifford Chance lawyer Hilka Schneider (23 January 2014). Schneider will replace outgoing general counsel Andreas Göhmann, who is retiring after leading legal teams for Tui and predecessor company Preussag for 16 years. The duo are working together in a transitional period until 1 March, when Schneider officially takes over.

Bird & Bird has appointed Hans Peter Leube as a partner within its corporate practice in Frankfurt. Leube joins the firm from Schalast & Partner, where he was also a partner. He focuses on corporate transactions, particularly in the areas of telecommunications and media, infrastructure and automotive.

Meanwhile Bird & Bird partner Ulf Grundmann has moved to King & Spalding’s Frankfurt office. Grundmann joins King & Spalding’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and life sciences team.  

A trio of former Hengeler Mueller corporate associates have teamed up to launch corporate boutique Berner Fleck Wettich in Düsseldorf. Berner and Wettich have both moved directly from Hengeler, while Fleck was most recently a lawyer at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, having joined the firm in 2011 from Hengeler.


Allen & Overy has launched in Barcelona with the addition of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer corporate partner Antoni Valverde (4 February 2014). Valverde, who specialises in M&A and advises major banks and corporates headquartered in Barcelona, will be responsible for building the new office – understood to have been on the cards for a number of years – from scratch.

Herbert Smith Freehills has brought the number of real estate partners in its Madrid office to three with the addition of Javier Ortega de la Peña from DAC Beachcroft (28 January 2014).

Sérvulo has promoted corporate and commercial partner Rui Cardona Ferreira to its partnership. Cardona Ferreira has been a lawyer at Sérvulo since 2006.


Castrén & Snellman has elected Anders Forss and Miika Pinomaa to the firm’s partnership as of 1 February 2014. Forss specialises in litigation, while Pinomaa focuses on energy sector projects and contracts issues.


Bener Law Office has recruited two partners and promoted a third, boosting its partnership from eight to 11 (5 February 2014). Partner Selale Kartal joins Bener from Cerrahoglu Law Firm, where she was head of litigation. Bener has also tempted back real estate partner Funda Ozsel. Ozsel previously worked at Bener before leaving for GSI Meridian two years ago to become the firm’s managing partner. The firm has also promoted litigator Cenk Kisnisci to its partnership.