Kirkland & Ellis loses seven-partner team to Sidley in Munich

Munich skyline

Sidley Austin has raided US rival Kirkland & Ellis for the second time in a year, bringing in a seven-partner team from the firm, as well as a Linklaters partner, for its Munich office.

Private equity and M&A partner Volker Kullmann leads the Kirkland team, with Sidley also hiring Linklaters’ Frankfurt banking and finance partner Kolja von Bismarck.

Joining from Kirkland alongside Kullmann are tax partner Roderic Pagel, corporate partners Björn Holland, Christian Zuleger, Marcus Klie and Nicole Schlatter, and finance partner Markus Feil.

Their hires mark the second raid on Kirkland by Sidley in a year, with Sidley hiring six partners in London from Kirkland’s City base in February last year.

That team included buyout partner Erik Dahl, who at that point split his time between London and Munich for Kirkland but who now heads Sidley’s Munich office.

He joined alongside City private equity partners Christian Iwasko and Fatema Orjela alongside banking partner Bryan Robson, corporate partner Sava Savov and tax partner Oliver Currall in January.

George Petrow, Sidley’s European managing partner, said the hires were part of a plan to build out its private capital work. He added: “Contrary to growing scepticism in some quarters about the future of globalised markets, we remain convinced that the ability to offer cross-border legal services will continue to offer outstanding growth opportunities to the firms capable of exploiting them, and nowhere more so than in private equity, M&A and restructuring.”

A Kirkland spokesperson said: “We would like to thank the attorneys for their contributions to our Munich practice over the years. We wish them all the best in the future.”

Following the latest team departure, Kirkland’s Munich office has 37 lawyers including 14 partners.

Sidley has hired 21 new partners since the start of 2016 in private equity-focused corporate, finance, restructuring and tax partners in London and Munich.

Along with the six partner team that joined from Kirkland in February last year, Sidley also hired James Crooks from Wilkie Farr in April and Yen Sum from Linklaters in November.

Other partner hires made in the past 12 months include Jifree Cader from Kirkland in October last year, and Jennifer Brennan from Linklaters and Jan Sckinoth from DLA Piper last month.

Of counsel Alan Grinceri and associate Noel Hughes both joined Sidley as partners from Cravath and Paul Hastings respectively in November last year.