FGvW’s co-head quits to help set up Freiburg office for Advant Beiten

Barbara Mayer is departing with 16-strong corporate team including 11 lawyers

Advant Beiten has hired a 16-strong team from Friedrich Graf von Westphalen (FGvW) – led by longstanding co-managing partner Barbara Mayer – to help open an office in Freiburg in the second half of 2022.

The move will expand Advant Beiten’s footprint into Germany’s southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, which managing partner Philipp Cotta said had been a strategic ambition ‘for some time’.

It follows the launch last September by the Munich-based firm – in conjunction with Nctm in Milan and Altana in Paris – of the exclusive alliance Advant, under the umbrella of a Swiss verein.

Mayer and fellow FGvW partner Jan Barth will join as equity partners while a third FGvW partner, Gerhard Manz, joins as of counsel. They make up a total of 11 lawyers moving across, alongside FGvW’s former head of business development and marketing and support staff. The team specialises in corporate and M&A matters and has extensive experience in cross-border transactions.

Over the medium-term, Advant Beiten intends to grow the Freiburg office into a full-service offering including employment law and intellectual property, adding to its existing five German offices in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. It also has offices in Beijing, Brussels and Moscow.

Philipp Cotta, Advant Beiten’s managing partner, said: “Baden-Wuerttemberg has been part of our growth strategy for some time now. We are all the more pleased to have gained a team with excellent professional quality and outstanding reputation in Dr Barbara Mayer, Dr Jan Barth and Gerhard Manz. Thus, we are starting out with a leading market position in the highly attractive economic region in the southwest.”

Mayer spent three decades at FGvW and, before that, Graf von Westphalen, including an almost nine-year spell as managing partner of Graf Von Westphalen between 2001 and 2009 before its Cologne and Freiburg separated in 2010 to become FGvW.

Mayer said the move was a ‘strategic fit’, and saw potential to combine forces with the firm’s Munich and Frankfurt offices to grow its business in the Lake Constance region.

In a statement, FGvW confirmed the three partners would be leaving the firm ‘by the end of the year at the latest’ and that co-head Carsten Laschet had become sole managing partner ahead of the election of new management.

The firm said that while Laschet regretted Mayer's departure, he also regarded it ‘as an opportunity to bring about a generational change in the law firm’s management’.

"The firm would like to thank Barbara Mayer most sincerely for her extraordinary commitment,” he said. “And I want to thank her personally for the trusting cooperation over the past years.”

He added: "We will continue to strengthen and expand our locations and remain a classic medium-sized law firm with an international focus in all areas of advice.”

FGvW has offices in Freiburg, Cologne, Frankfurt and Berlin, which it opened last year, Brussels and Alicante. It said the corporate law/M&A practice would 'remain a mainstay of the firm with a total of 13 partners (seven of them in Freiburg)'.

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