BCLP secures real estate and insolvency partner quartet in Frankfurt from DLA Piper

German practice grows to 60 lawyers as firm targets further expansion in key market Germany

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Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has added a four-partner real estate and insolvency team in Frankfurt from DLA Piper as it targets German growth. 

Dr Torsten Pokropp, Frank Schwem, Christian Lonquich and Mike Danielewsky will join BCLP at the start of next month and bring experience in real estate finance, real estate and insolvency and restructuring.

The Missouri-based firm said the hires reflected its focus on building strength internationally in priority, high-growth practices and follow expansion in Paris that has seen the firm more than triple the size of its office there to 50 lawyers. 

“In line with our strategy, this is a transformative move for our presence in Germany,” said BCLP co-chairs Lisa Mayhew and Steve Baumer. “We look forward to working with our new partners to spearhead our growth plans here. As we enter our next phase, we are committed to further growth in Germany where we see great potential.”

Pokropp previously served as head of the German finance and projects group for DLA Piper, which he joined more than 10 years ago as a senior associate from the Frankfurt office of Clifford Chance, making partner in 2015. He advises financiers and borrowers on real estate acquisition and development financings, as well as on loan portfolio sales and refinancings. He also advises on project financings, including those in the energy sectors related to infrastructure, wind and power.

Schwem was a counsel at Clifford Chance before joining DLA Piper as a partner in 2010 and served as global co-chair of the firm’s financial services team for almost a decade, according to his LinkedIn profile. He advises financiers and borrowers on real estate acquisition and development financings, as well as loan portfolio sales, refinancings and debt add-on structures. His project and acquisition financings work focuses on the paper and pulp, wind, power and pipelines sectors, in addition to ECA financings.

Meantime, real estate partner Lonquich’s practice focuses on large and complex transactions, including forward deals, as well as sale and lease back structures throughout Europe. He also advises investors and financial institutions on workout issues, in addition to the acquisition – and liquidation –­ of complex loan portfolios. He joined DLA Piper as a partner six years ago from investment management firm CQS, where he was managing director of legal and restructuring. Earlier he had a stint in the Frankfurt office of Clifford Chance that overlapped with Pokropp’s and Schwem’s time at the firm.   

Rounding out the new arrivals is restructuring and insolvency partner Danielewsky, who advises on the development of restructuring strategies inside and outside of insolvency proceedings, where he advises companies, executive bodies, banks, investment companies and funds. 

Working with debtors, he also advises on the sale and acquisition of distressed loans and distressed loan portfolios, the restructuring of complex syndicated loans and securitised transactions for banks and investors. He joined DLA Piper in Frankfurt in 2013 from the local office of French law firm Salans, where he was a partner. 

The quartet’s arrival at BCLP brings the firm’s lawyer headcount in Germany to 60 across its offices in Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt and follows tax partner Heiko Stoll joining in Frankfurt at the start of the year from from Munich-based legal services company GSK Stockmann. 

“We are delighted and proud to welcome our new colleagues to our team,” said Tina Siebenhaar, BCLP head of real estate Germany. “With their many years of experience, we strengthen all aspects of our firm’s advisory services as we have built one of the market’s largest platforms in Germany.”

BCLP partner in charge for Germany, Carsten Bremer, said the real estate practice was “of great strategic importance” for the firm in Germany and worldwide.

“Especially in these times of market uncertainty, our clients’ need for advice is increasing,” he said.  

Real estate is one of three key groups created by BCLP as part of its Project Advance strategy, along with corporate and finance transactions and litigation and investigations. The project was unveiled back in October 2020 following a review conducted with the help of management consultancy McKinsey, with the firm aiming to build scale around existing core practice areas as well as modify its operational structure to help drive growth.

The firm’s expansion in Paris saw it add a seven-strong real estate team from CMS toward the end of 2020 and a litigation and investigations team from White & Case a year later.

Conversely there have been a string of departures from is private client group since the start of 2021 – notably to Taylor Wessing in London and US trust and estates boutique Harrison & Held in the US

Dubai-based partner Raza Mithani, meanwhile, left the firm’s real estate team at the beginning of the year to launch his own specialist disputes and investigations firm

And earlier this month Reed Smith said it had hired structured finance partner Tariq Zafar Rasheed from BCLP in London, shortly after Addleshaw Goddard announced it had added veteran real estate partner Simon Pollock from the firm, also in London. 

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