Eversheds Sutherland secures PwC Legal's Germany head for Frankfurt launch

Office will be firm's fifth in Germany; more partners expected to join ahead of January opening

Eversheds Sutherland has hired PwC Legal’s Germany managing partner to fulfil a ‘long standing ambition’ by opening an office in Frankfurt.

Steffen Schniep, who also led the Big Four accountancy firm’s global M&A practice, will join Eversheds Sutherland in the autumn ahead of the office’s planned launch in January.

The firm said other partners would be joining the office ‘soon’ to broaden its coverage beyond M&A.

The office will be its fifth in Germany, adding to its existing network in Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Hamburg. 

Its German team currently comprises 45 partners and 110 other lawyers. The firm said it was too early to say whether Schniep would have a leadership role at his new firm.

European managing partner Helen Thomas said: “Establishing a presence in Frankfurt realises a long-standing ambition for the firm and for our team in Germany. Our goal in Frankfurt is to build the practice through exceptional quality hires and by developing our highly talented lawyer pipeline.”

Germany manging partner Alexander Niethammer added that Schniep was well placed to “deliver rapid growth to develop our newest office”, adding: “As a law firm with a strong global network, we are able to provide Steffen with the resources to help his clients with their outbound ambitions, particularly into the UK and the US.”

The office will be the first since Eversheds Sutherland opened in Düsseldorf in 2017 when it absorbed three-partner real estate and insurance boutique Grooterhorst & Partner.

Its strategy to build a major presence in Germany took shape in 2015 when it merged with its ally, top 50 German firm Heiss Kursawe, adding 28 partners across offices in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg.

Other UK-focused international firms targeting Germany for growth include Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, which hired a four-partner real estate and insolvency team in Frankfurt from DLA Piper in June, and Addleshaw Goddard, which launched offices in Munich and Frankfurt in March.

In January, Simmons & Simmons hired patent partners Dr Fritz Lahrtz and Stephanie Nottrott in Munich along with a team of patent lawyers from German IP specialist Isenbruck Bösl Hörschler in a significant boost to its healthcare and life sciences offering.  

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