A five-lawyer team of competition lawyers, led by partners Christian Horstkotte and Johannes Weichbrodt, has left Baker McKenzie to join Mayer Brown in Düsseldorf.
Horstkotte, previously head of Bakers’ national antitrust practice, will take up a similar leadership role, splitting his time between Düsseldorf and Brussels, liaising with Julian Ellison, the firm’s lead competition lawyer in the EU capital.
Weichbrodt, meanwhile, has a strong practice rooted in key local industries, such as automotive and heavy industry, as well as retail, IT and consumer goods. He also has links to Latin American importers to Europe, advising on both competition and regulatory compliance.
Horstkotte became a partner at Bakers in 2011, having trained and qualified at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, including spending four years at the Magic Circle firm’s flagship Brussels office. He also gained in-house legal experience at Commerzbank.
Weichbrodt, who made partner in 2019, leaves Bakers after six years, having also spent time at Freshfields, overlapping with Horstkotte. Previously, he gained experience in London at firms including Ashurst and Wilmer Hale.
Also joining are associates Teresa Gerold, Matthias Jannausch and Eugen Wingerter. Guido Zeppenfeld, Mayer Brown’s national managing partner, said: “We have recruited an experienced team in response to strong demand from our clients for European advice in the area of antitrust law.”
Horstkotte stressed the development opportunities open to him at Mayer Brown, and its pan-European capabilities, working with London’s David Harrison and Nathalie Jalabert Doury in Paris.
The move comes as EU and national regulators consider how businesses respond to the economic fall-out from the pandemic, calling issues such as merger control, cartels and state aid into focus.
Mayer Brown has been building up its offering in Düsseldorf, the hub for Germany’s manufacturing and engineering sector. In May last year it hired employment partner Hagen Köckeritz from Baker McKenzie. It subsequently hired veteran litigation partner Ulrich Helm from Hogan Lovells and banking lawyer Bernina Butt from Freshfields.
In June, Baker McKenzie announced its largest partner class since 2016 includng three promotions in Germany.