Linklaters to open fifth German office with Hamburg launch

Linklaters is set to open its fifth office in Germany, with a launch in Hamburg.

The office is to open in the first quarter of this year as the firm looks to deepen its relationship with a number of clients based in the city.

The firm is not initially making any lateral hires but instead moving two existing partners to Hamburg to found the new office.

Frankfurt tax partner Jens Blumenberg and Duesseldorf corporate partner Wolfgang Sturm will be the office’s founding partners.

Blumenberg sits on Linklaters’ partnership board, one of the firm’s key decision-making bodies.

The pair will be joined by six associates from Frankfurt and Duesseldorf.

The firm counts a number of Hamburg-based corporates among its clients, including HSH Nordbank and Berenberg Bank, skincare company Beiersdorf and shipping company Hapag Lloyd.

The firm’s Germany managing partner Andreas Steck said: “For several years, we have been increasingly working with many Hamburg-based clients – we would like to further expand that work and are, therefore, very much looking forward to opening an office in Hamburg next spring.”

It will be the firm’s fifth office in Germany, where the firm already has bases in Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Berlin and Munich.

The move runs contrary to the trend for magic circle firms in Germany, which has been one of consolidation and retrenchment.

In 2016, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer closed its Cologne office as part of a move to downsize in the country. Earlier this week, Legal Week reported that three senior public law partners are set to leave the firm to establish a boutique.

Previously, Linklaters reduced its headcount in Germany with a far-reaching 2007 partnership restructuring, which resulted in the closure of its Cologne office and a downsizing in Berlin.

Recent hires for the firm in Germany include real estate partner Carsten Loll, who joined the firm from DLA Piper.

Last year, Duesseldorf private equity partner Nikolaos Paschos moved to Latham & Watkins. He was reunited there with former colleague Rainer Traugott, a corporate partner who made the move to the US firm in 2016.