K&L Gates and Orrick pick up Munich KWM partners

Munich Munich

US firms K&L Gates and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe have hired a partner each from King & Wood Mallesons’ (KWM) Munich office.

Munich-based corporate partner Franz Schaefer is to join K&L Gates along with counsel Martina Ortner and associate Christoph Kuster.

The trio will be reunited with former colleague Hilger von Livonius, a banking and finance partner who joined the US firm’s Munich office from KWM in July.

Meanwhile, Orrick has hired private equity partner and head of the Germany corporate group Christoph Brenner. A team of KWM lawyers is expected to join with him.

In Germany, KWM also has an office in Frankfurt. In October, a five-lawyer team including two partners left KWM’s Frankfurt base to join Taylor Wessing.

Last week (16 December), Legal Week revealed that two KWM real estate teams are set to join Greenberg Traurig and DLA Piper respectively.

The same day, KWM registered a new limited liability partnership called KWM Deutschland with Companies House. Its listed members are Europe and Middle East (EUME) managing partner Tim Bednall, EUME senior partner Michael Cziesla and the King & Wood Mallesons LLP.

A host of firms are also currently in discussions to take on various partners from KWM EUME, which is heading towards a pre-pack administration that is likely to happen next month.

Reed Smith is in talks with a large number of partners, understood to include City competition partner Tom Usher and London-based joint head of life sciences and healthcare Cameron Firth, as well as a number of tax partners including London tax head Gareth Amdor.

Usher and Firth are also understood to be among partners talking to Winston & Strawn.

Other firms that are interested in taking on parts of KWM Europe include KWM’s own Asian arm and Mayer Brown.

Dentons had previously been talking to KWM’s European management about a potential deal to take over the EUME business but recently pulled out of discussions, leaving no single-firm takeover of the business on the table.