DLA Piper to close Berlin office as DWF takes team for launch

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DLA Piper has decided to close its Berlin base in April and will transfer its office there, along with the majority of its team, to DWF.

DWF will take over the office on 3 April and launch with eight lawyers initially, including three partners.

DLA’s sole Berlin partner, finance partner Nina Siedler, will join DWF alongside real estate counsel Irene Schmid – who will join as a partner.

The launch will be headed by DWF Cologne banking and finance partner Wolfgang Richter, who joined DWF in Germany last year from investment bank Abadi & Co Global Markets, where he was a managing director. He previously worked at DLA, where he became head of the German finance group.

There will be no DLA staff or lawyer redundancies. Siedler and Schmid will take one trainee with them, as well as one professional support lawyer, a student and a secretary.

The remaining two lawyers and one trainee in DLA’s Berlin office will transfer to Hamburg or Munich. In Germany, DLA also has offices in Frankfurt and Cologne.

A DLA Piper spokesperson said: “The firm’s German practice continues to strengthen and grow. However, it has become clear that there is no longer the client demand, and therefore the need, for us to have an office in Berlin. As a result, with effect from 1 April 2017, we have come to an agreement that our office with one partner and one of counsel, will transfer to DWF. We wish them every success for the future.”

The firm’s country managing partners came to the decision, which was supported by the executive and the board.

DWF managing partner and chief executive Andrew Leaitherland said: “Opening in Berlin presents a strategic opportunity in its own right, offering significant opportunities in the financial services and real estate markets, along with being a key piece of our wider international growth plans.”

In Germany, DWF already has offices in Munich and Cologne.