A bitter Raue?

So much has been written about the love-in that is the Hogan-Lovells merger it seemed like there might be nothing left to say.

Until today, when it emerged that 18 Hogan & Hartson partners in Berlin could not forever hold their peace and wanted no part of the imminent union (see story).

The German naysayers have broken away from Hogan to form independent firm Raue, citing the potential for client conflicts as a major factor in the move.

Of course, Hogans is “delighted” to continue to have a presence in Berlin. But however you do the maths, the seven partners who will fill the yawning spaces of the Loveharts office is fewer than the 24 they would have envisaged before the split.

But what of Lovells? Given that the partners forming the new independent were happy to merge with Hogan when it planted its flag in Berlin in 2001, this decision is surely a snub to the UK firm.

Raue’s managing partner Christian von Hammerstein did not mince his words when he told The Lawyer that UK firms “tend to have a stricter vision about what people have to do”. Ouch.

At least the soon-to-be merged firm has scored a coup by hanging on to Christophe Wagner, who will lead Hogan Lovells Berlin and is by all accounts the office’s main rainmaker.