Field Fisher suffers another exit as A&O hires Germany head

Field Fisher Waterhouse’s (FFW) has seen another partner exit its European practice with German managing partner Joachim Feldges moving to Allen & Overy (A&O) as the magic circle firm bids to strengthen its German IP team.

Feldges joins A&O as a partner in Munich, less than two years after moving to FFW with three other partners from US firm Howrey (11 January 2011). The team made the move just months before Howrey’s dissolution.

The exit comes after SJ Berwin yesterday added to its City corporate practice with the hire of FFW CIS specialist Alex Woodfield, who founded and headed FFW’s CIS focus group covering Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan (5 November 2012). The departures comes amid continuing merger talks between FFW and Osborne Clarke (29 October 2012).

Feldges hire by A&O continues the firm’s efforts to rebuild its depleted German IP team, which has been hit by a number of departures over the past two years.

In early 2010 IP litigation partner Marcus Grosch quit A&O with four associates to launch a German IP practice for US dispute resolution boutique Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (23 February 2010).

He was followed two years later by IP and competition partner Nadine Herrmann, who left with a team of lawyers and staff to launch a Hamburg office for Quinn Emanuel (1 May 2012). However A&O had already begun to rebuild the team, announcing the hire of Linklaters soft IP partner Jens Matthes for its Düsseldorf office the day after the news of Herrmann’s departure (2 May 2012).

In a statement, Feldges said A&O’s “strong international patent practice” would give him a platform to develop his own German practice, which focuses on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. He has litigated before courts in Europe and the US and has advised on technology transfer agreements in Europe, the US and the CIS.

In a statement, a spokesperson for FFW said: “Field Fisher Waterhouse’s Hamburg office will continue to be headed up by partners Michael Adam and Philipp Plog, with the firm’s London management, including German desk partner Babette Marzheuser-Wood, overseeing our offices in Munich and Düsseldorf.

“We remain committed to our operations in Germany as part of the firm’s wider European offering. Our team of seven partners and nine other lawyers in Hamburg cover a range of practice areas, with an emphasis on TMT and life sciences work and our four partners in Munich and Düsseldorf will continue to build on our practice there with a primary focus on IP and regulatory work.”