KWMSJB says auf wiedersehen to Berlin

Legal market water-cooler chat about Chinese investment into Germany, one of those growth areas that everyone appears to be talking about, got a big boost after the merger between Asian powerhouse King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and SJ Berwin.

But just as German lawyers were getting used to the idea of a major Asian firm having a presence on the ground in their jurisdiction, that presence has been slimmed down. In case you missed it, today KWMSJB confirmed that it was closing its office in Berlin.

Two of KWMSJB’s partners – Frank Vogel and Jan Dirk Heerma – are setting up their own boutique while their former firm is re-focusing its German efforts on Frankfurt and Munich.

Legacy SJ Berwin has been in Berlin for years but over the past few has watched a growing roster of its international rivals, including Berwin Leighton Paisner, Herbert Smith Freehills and most recently Morrison & Foerster, launch there. The German capital is fast-becoming a hub for technology and innovation, while its status as one of Europe’s coolest cities makes it attractive as a place to work.

Shame then that those KWMSJB lawyers who want to experience Berlin’s vibrant art scene and nightlife will now have to get on a train to do so.

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