Oppenhoff & Partner to open in Frankfurt with Sidley hire

Oppenhoff & Partner will open an office in Frankfurt next year with the hire of Sidley Austin’s regional managing partner Oliver Kessler.

Michael Oppenhoff
Michael Oppenhoff

Kessler, a specialist in cross-border M&A and financial markets transactions, helped Sidley launch its Frankfurt base in 2006 when he joined the US firm from legacy Hogan Lovells firm Lovells, where he was head of the firm’s German capital markets and structured finance group.

The lawyer, who recently advised the Chinese solar group LDK on the takeover bid for Sunways AG, will join the partnership of Oppenhoff from January 2013 and will initially work alongside Oppenhoff M&A partner Ronald Meissner, who is relocating from the firm’s office in Cologne.

The move marks the German firm’s second office, the first being in Cologne. The Linklaters spin-off merged with Linklaters & Alliance in 2000, but Linklaters axed the Cologne office to focus on Düsseldorf in 2007 (8 October 2007). Shortly afterwards Michael Oppenhoff, the son of the late Walter Oppenhoff, who gave the firm its name, relaunched independently as Oppenhoff & Partner.

Oppenhoff said in a statement: “An office in Frankfurt will give our law firm direct access to Germany’s most important financial centre and meet the expectations of many foreign enterprises and law firms. Oliver Kessler advises at the point where corporate and finance law meet – our clients will benefit from his many years of experience doing transactional work and this will be of great advantage for all types of transactions and financings. At the same time, he’ll contribute important management expertise to the establishment of our Frankfurt office.”

This is not the first time Oppenhoff has poached a high-profile partner from an international firm. In 2009 Allen & Overy star German corporate partner Rolf Koerfer left the firm for partnership at Oppenhoff (21 September 2009).