Eversheds Sutherland to close Berlin office

Transatlantic firm asserts ambition for Germany where it will have four offices following closure
The famous Berlin TV Tower

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Eversheds Sutherland is set to close the office in Berlin it opened a decade ago, leaving it with a network of four offices in Germany.

The firm said the decision followed a strategic review of its German business, its Frankfurt office having been boosted in January with the arrival of a 10-lawyer team from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) as part of an exclusive alliance the two firms forged in 2022. 

The closure will leave Eversheds with German bases in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. The firm debuted in Berlin in 2014, with the office initially focused on labour and procurement law. 

The Berlin office currently houses partners Carsten Brueninghaus and Christian Hilpert, both of whom have been with the firm for many years, as well as two counsel and five associates. Brueninghaus, current head of the Berlin office, is a corporate lawyer who also works as a notary and had previously announced his decision to join a specialist notary firm.  

Meantime Hilpert, who heads the firm’s German restructuring and insolvency and banking and finance practices, will relocate to Eversheds’ Munich office. The firm said discussions about possible relocation opportunities within the firm for the wider Berlin team were ongoing. 

Eversheds said that Germany “continues to be a key market for the firm driven by strong client demand”, adding that its growing Germany practice houses 45 partners and more than 200 lawyers.  

The firm only opened in Frankfurt at the start of last year, hiring corporate partner Steffen Schniepp from PwC Legal to lead the launch and subsequently hiring M&A partner Silke Gantzckow from Baker McKenzie.

January’s arrival of the KWM team, which included four partners, was part of the agreement between the two firms that requires KWM’s China arm to refer all outbound UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa and South America legal work to Eversheds International, with Eversheds reciprocating by referring China legal work to KWM China. 

The deal included a commitment by KWM to close its six offices in the UK, Europe and the Middle East by October this year, with KWM staff being invited to join Eversheds subject to practice needs. That process is now complete.

Alongside the team that moved over in Germany, 15 lawyers joined Eversheds from KWM in London with teams also moving across in Italy and the United Arab Emirates.

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