Linklaters boosts Frankfurt base with Allen & Overy's former Germany senior partner

Linklaters has hired senior banking partner Neil Weiand from magic circle rival Allen & Overy (A&O) in Frankfurt.

Weiand, who joins as a partner in the firm’s finance practice, departs after nearly two decades with A&O. He made partner in 2000 and was Germany senior partner for two terms, with the most recent stint lasting seven years from 2009 until 2016.

Last year, he led the A&O team advising life sciences company Bayer on its $62bn (£42.7bn) deal to buy agricultural company Monsanto.

Other notable deals include leading the firm’s team advising on the €12bn (£10.3bn) debt restructuring of German manufacturing company Schaeffler in 2009.

Linklaters Germany senior partner Andreas Steck said: “We are pleased to welcome one of the most renowned finance law experts in Germany to our finance practice. Dr Weiand brings many years of experience and excellent industry expertise across banking, corporate and capital markets.

“His appointment allows us to further strengthen the link between finance and corporate, which is of great importance to our clients, and expand our comprehensive advisory approach on the most senior level.”

His hire is the second senior partner addition Linklaters has made to its Frankfurt office in the past four months.

In July, the firm hired former Clifford Chance (CC) German private equity head Christopher Kellett.

Magic circle partners are facing increasing pressure in Germany, with a number of firms reducing partners’ profit share in the region as a result.

A&O moved down or froze about 50% of its German partners earlier this year in a bid to improve profitability. It has also made it more difficult for those in the country to move beyond 40 points on its 50-point ladder.

Meanwhile, Freshfields has cut back its German partnership aggressively in recent years, closing its Cologne office last year and moving partners to a lower lockstep ladder. In May, the firm confirmed plans to scale back partner count by 20% by 2020. Prior to that, it had already cut back the partnership by 20% since December 2015.

A&O Germany senior partner Thomas Ubber said: ”We are sorry to see Neil leave and thank him for the contribution he has made to the German practice. With 64 excellent lawyers in banking and finance, we remain one of the top names in Germany. Thanks to the breadth and depth of our practice, our position in the German market is unrivalled.”