Latham & Watkins Grows German Practice
Summary: Germany is continuing to experience a busy legal market as lateral partners are moving to and from law firms frequently.
Things continue to be mixed up in Germany’s legal market this year. Latham & Watkins is enhancing their private equity capabilities in Germany by hiring Rainer Traugott, the former practice head at Linklaters.
Latham & Watkins lost two of their most senior partners in their private equity practice in Munich. In June, Volkmar Bruckner left for Weil, Gotshal & Manges while Jorg Kirchner left in July for Kirkland & Ellis.
Nearly a year ago, Latham did their own raid on the German private equity practice at Clifford Chance, taking global co-head of private equity Oliver Felsenstein and partner Burc Hesse. It has been common lately for the U.S. firms to gradually keep picking away at their rival U.K. firms since they generally have higher profitability, flexible compensation systems, and access to U.S. markets and clients. U.K. firms have a more firm lockstep compensation system, constraining growth for partners.
Germany has seen a surge in activity in the legal market over the last few years. There have been openings and closings of law firms plus a number of lateral partner moves. White & Case is closing its Munich office while Herbert Smith Freehills is opening an office in Dusseldorf. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is closing two of their offices in Germany to focus on their two remaining offices. Greenberg Traurig is another firm that jumped on the opportunity to take over a closed law office, establishing their first office in Germany. Littler Mendelson wasn’t far behind in opening their first German office.