Linklaters loses German capital markets team to Taylor Wessing

Linklaters has suffered rare partner losses in Germany with the departure of high-flying equity capital markets (ECM) partner Christoph Vaupel.

Vaupel, one of the German market’s leading capital markets lawyers, is set to move to Taylor Wessing to bolster the firm’s currently embryonic capital markets offering in the country.

He is joined at Taylor Wessing by two Linklaters managing associates, whose names are not currently being disclosed by the firms. Both become fixed-share partners following their move.

Although the firm could snatch more Linklaters associates, Vaupel’s contract prevents him from approaching any of his current underlings.

Competition partner Carsten Grave is also leaving the magic circle firm, joining Mayer Brown. He told The Lawyer he chose to leave Linklaters for the opportunity to advise on antitrust litigation.

Although Taylor Wessing already has ECM partners in Germany, including Stephan Heinemann in Munich and Hassan Sohbi in Frankfurt, Vaupel is the firm’s first big-hitter in the area.

He said he aimed to transform Taylor Wessing’s German ECM practice from a mid-cap to a large-cap offering, but market sources claim the firm would struggle to break into the market as it is not on key bank and corporate panels.

Meanwhile, Linklaters’ ECM practice is said to be largely unaffected as the firm still has three equity partners left, including the high-flying Herbert Harrer.

Vaupel is one of Taylor Wessing’s biggest recent lateral hires in Germany for the firm, which hired TMT transaction partner Mark Hoenike from Allen & Overy and corporate partner Klaus Grossmann from Clifford Chance in 2009.

Former Links managing associate Lars-Gerrit Lüßmann, most recently a partner at German independent Broich Bezzenberger, also joined Taylor Wessing on 1 July. Vaupel joins him in the autumn.

The moves bump the firm’s German partner count in capital markets from six to ten in Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg, part of 29 covering corporate nationwide. The firm has 22 capital markets partners worldwide.

“This is a real challenge to establish here a credible corporate and capital markets practice,” Vaupel said.

He added: “Starting with 10 partners in Germany alone, we will have a strong, powerful team for capital markets – but do not intend to stop there.”

Partner departures from Linklaters in Germany are relatively rare. Real estate partner Wolfram Paetzold left the firm for P+P Pöllath + Partners in February.