Freshfields hire sees Dewey launch Frankfurt disputes group

Dewey & LeBoeuf is to launch a dispute resolution practice in its Frankfurt office after hiring a counsel from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Tanja Pfitzner is set to join Dewey as a partner at the start of 2012 after nine years at Freshfields in Frankfurt.

Dewey partner Benedikt von Schorlemer said dispute resolution is an area that has been lacking in the firm’s activities in Germany.

He added that the international operations of Dewey have presented a number of opportunities in the past, which the Frankfurt office has been unable to follow through.

The development comes at a time when firms across Europe are becoming more active in litigation.

Pfitzner, who became counsel in 2010, will bring a great deal of experience to Dewey, said von Schorlemer.

“She has a very high reputation in that area. At Freshfields [dispute resolution] is definitely one of the leading German practices,” he said. “From her legal skills certainly we have a perfect match.”

He added that his team was looking for the right candidate for the firm rather than “a big book of business”.

The news follows the arrival of Allen & Overy corporate finance partner Martin Kniehase to Dewey’s Frankfurt office in September this year (26 September 2011).

In November 2010 Dewey boosted its Frankfurt office, hiring the head of Weil Gotshal & Manges’ German antitrust and regulatory practice Michael Holzhäuser as a partner (15 November 2010).

Dewey lost two of its biggest-hitting German partners in June 2010. Managing partner Hanno Berger and banking partner Kai-Uwe Steck left to set up a tax boutique, taking an eight-strong team with them (4 June 2010).

Von Schorlemer added that the Frankfurt branch is continuing its search for a new member of the corporate practice.