The mass exodus from Hogan Lovells in Germany has continued with the departure of a team of 13 Hamburg-based media lawyers to Bird & Bird.
Partner Stefan Engels, who heads the firm’s TMT industry group, has led a team of two counsel, two of counsel and eight associates to the US rival, reports German legal magazine Juve.
Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt, currently counsel, joins Bird & Bird as a partner, while counsel Ulrike Grübler becomes a senior European consultant, an equivalent position to salaried partner.
Eva Scheller und Kai Flatau, both of counsel at Hogan Lovells, join Bird & Bird in the same role. Of counsel Volker Meinberg, legacy firm Lovells’ former Hamburg managing partner, is also making the move but his role in the new team is not confirmed.
The Hogan Lovells TMT team in Hamburg has a strong focus on the publishing industry, for which Hamburg is a hub. Engels’ clients include Hamburg-based publisher Bauer.
The departures decimate the firm’s Hamburg media team, although it still has a number of TMT partners across Germany, notably BSkyB adviser Christoph Wagner in Berlin.
The departures are the latest in a string of departures from the German offices following the merger between Lovells and Hogan & Hartson in May 2010. Earlier in the summer the merged firm lost seven lawyers in Munich to DLA Piper (1 July 2011). IT partner Wolfgang Büchner is heading to Jones Day, while insurance partner Jan Schröder and employment partner Hans-Peter Löw both left the firm for Allen & Overy earlier in the year.
Alexander Schröder-Frerkes, head of Bird & Bird in Germany, said: “We’ve planned for some time to bring strong media expertise to our Hamburg office, as a capability that will greatly benefit our clients locally as well as further strengthen our international media group.”
Christoph Küppers, Hogan Lovells’ regional managing partner for continental Europe, said: “Our IP and media practice is recognised as being at the top of the market in Germany including a significant number of lawyers who are widely regarded for their expertise.
“Our advisory practice in the IP and media fields is a core competence which we regularly invest in through the appointment of new partners and the recruitment of new lawyers – in Germany and beyond.”