Shearman pulls out of Düsseldorf and Munich with office closures

Shearman & Sterling is closing down two-thirds of its German office network, with many of the lawyers in Düsseldorf and Munich set to lose their jobs with the US firm.


Shearman will continue to operate in Germany via its office in Frankfurt, which currently has around 10 partners and another 15 associates.

Several of the lawyers in the offices Shearman is shutting down, including high-profile M&A partner Georg Thoma, are expected to relocate to the country’s finance capital. Munich is the US firm’s smaller German office with two partners while Düsseldorf has around half a dozen.

Shearman told the partners of its intentions at a meeting last weekend.

The firm’s management team, which includes senior partner Creighton Condon, managing partner Dave Beveridge and regional managing partner for Europe Nick Buckworth, said the office closures were part of a restructuring plan for Germany and a reshaping of the business that would leave Shearman in better shape to focus on high-end transactional matters.

Buckworth told The Lawyer today: “In effect we’re creating a new Shearman & Sterling in Germany, with elite but smaller teams which will allow us to execute on high-end cross-border transactions in Europe. We’re totally committed to the German market and we’re very proud of our history there.”

Earlier today news broke that Allen & Overy had hired Shearman corporate partner Hans Diekmann as a partner in its Düsseldorf office (23 April 2013).

It is the latest in a number of exits from the German offices. In the last year a team of three quit for Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (6 February 2012, 8 October 2012), while another pair quit a year ago for independent Glade Michel Wirtz (13 April 2012).

In March the firm cut six lawyers from its Hong Kong base (14 March 2013).