Norton Rose to launch in Hamburg with eight new partners from DLA

Norton Rose is to launch an office in Hamburg after hiring eight new partners from DLA Piper including Hamburg managing partner Klaus von Gierke.

Von Gierke is set to join Norton Rose with a Hamburg team comprising corporate finance partners Ulf Liebelt-Westphal and Jens Suhrbier, energy partner Ludger Verfuerth, financial services partner Uwe Eppler and tax partner Frank Weberndoerfer.

DLA employment senior associate Flemming Moos will also move with the team and join Norton Rose in Hamburg as a partner, while Frankfurt energy partner Corrado Wohlwend will join Norton Rose in Frankfurt.

Norton Rose chief executive Peter Martyr (pictured) said: “We’ve been reviewing our set-up in Germany for quite some time and felt that we needed to have more of a presence in the region. Hamburg is one of the old trading centres in Germany and has industry focuses closely aligned with our own strategic priorities. We will be looking to grow the Hamburg office quite quickly, particularly in the transport and banking sectors.”

The office will mark Norton Rose’s third presence in Germany, adding to its offices in Munich and Frankfurt, with the hires taking the total number of partners in the region to 34. The date of the Hamburg launch is yet to be decided.

In a statement, DLA regional managing partner for Germany, Ulrich Juengst, said: “The colleagues who are leaving contributed significantly to the establishment of our Hamburg office in the early phase of the growth of DLA Piper in Germany and we therefore owe them a debt of gratitude.

“However, there have been significant disagreements with the departing partners regarding the strategy and direction of the Hamburg office for some time. DLA Piper remains committed to the Hamburg market and we look forward to developing our presence there further and in a way that supports both the firm’s strategy in Germany and more broadly.”

The Hamburg launch comes after Norton Rose announced plans to launch in Canada and South Africa through mergers with Canadian law firm Ogilvy Renault and South Africa’s Deneys Reitz.

Both firms will join the Norton Rose Group on 1 June 2011, taking headcount at the combined firm to more than 2,500 fee earners.

Martyr has also stated that a US tie-up is a key focus for the firm, with other jurisdictions earmarked for a potential presence include Brazil and Latin America, as well as Turkey, Qatar and South Korea.