Herbert Smith plans triple German launch in 2013

Herbert Smith is set to launch in Germany in early 2013, with Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich top of the agenda.

The move follows the collapse of the firm’s alliance with German firm Gleiss Lutz and Benelux firm Stibbe, which Herbert Smith pulled out of after the European duo voted against a three-way merger (24 November 2011).

Herbert Smith has set up a committee chaired by global corporate managing partner Patrick Marshall to oversee the plans, with fellow London corporate partner Alan Montgomery also on the team as a project manager.

The committee plans to carry out several visits to Germany to investigate the market, with headhunters understood to be eagerly scouring the German market on the firm’s behalf.

Frankfurt is set to be the first location for a launch in early 2013, with Düsseldorf and Munich set to follow as part of a staggered launch. Hamburg is not an initial focus, the firm confirmed.

A non-compete clause contained in the alliance agreement with Gleiss and Stibbe prevents it from launching on the ground in Germany for a year after the alliance ended (28 November 2011). The association was officially terminated at the close of 2011 (22 December 2011).

The German practice will focus on the core areas of corporate, capital markets, finance and litigation, but the number of lawyers set to join the operation is not yet confirmed.

“We’re examining the size and shape of Herbert Smith Germany. It’s a work in progress,” a firm spokesperson said.