Freshfields Hamburg lawyers set up real estate boutique

A team of real estate lawyers from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Hamburg office is to spin off and launch a boutique.

Partner Erwin von Bressendorf will leave Freshfields at the end of August along with a team of between three and five lawyers, to create a boutique real-estate practice.

Following von Bressendorf’s departure the magic circle firm will be left with two partners in its Hamburg real estate department. In March 2009 Freshfields lost a team of two partners and nine associates from its real-estate team in Berlin to Olswang (25 March 2009).

Freshfields joint senior partner Konstantin Mettenheimer said: “We do have a very good and strong real-estate group in Germany, which is also part of a strong international group, and we’re keen to keep that group, no matter what the ups and downs of the economy.

“Germany’s a legal market where you can still set up on your own relatively easily. It’s also a market a bit like the UK, in that it’s reasonably segmented, with larger clients for the big firms and smaller clients for smaller firms, so there’s something for everyone.”

Bressendorf joined Freshfields legacy firm Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Löber as a partner in 1989. He has been a member of the firm’s real estate and finance groups, specialising in advising domestic and foreign developers, investors and financial institutions on commercial property law.

This is not the first time Freshfields lawyers in Germany have left to set up alone. In 2000 Bruckhaus partner Andreas Rittstieg set up Hamburg independent Rittstieg rather than take part in his firm’s merger with the UK firm.

In the same year a group of associates from Freshfields and German firm Hengeler Mueller set up Frankfurt-based Smeets Has Wolff while later a group of Hamburg associates set up corporate boutique Renzenbrink Raschke Von Knobelsdorff Heiser.