Fieldfisher opens in Vienna as part of latest European growth push

New office will be led by Austria managing partner Thomas Ruhm, who joins from SCWP

Fieldfisher's Vienna office is its 26th globally Shutterstock

UK firm Fieldfisher is opening in Vienna as it seeks to expand its European footprint as part of its broader growth strategy on the continent.

The Vienna launch is being led by the firm’s new Austria managing partner, Thomas Ruhm, who arrives from regional firm SCWP Schindhelm along with fellow partner Philipp Reinisch. They are joined by Alice Meissner, who is integrating her boutique firm Meissner & Passin into Fieldfisher’s Austrian business, and Leonhard Reis, who also ran his own practice.

They quartet of partners will be supported by a director and four lawyers, with a total office headcount of 17.

The Vienna office will cover practice areas including corporate law, dispute resolution, data protection, employment, real estate, intellectual property and regulation, with a particular focus on financial services, life sciences, energy and technology.

Robert Shooter, Fieldfisher’s managing partner, said: “We see Vienna as a strong commercial centre in Europe and a gateway to Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions. Vienna is also an important international arbitration hub.”

Ruhm joins after nine years at SCWP. Meissner also previously worked at SCWP before launching her boutique firm in 2021. She was also previously at Wolf Theiss, having trained at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Ruhm said: “I am proud to be launching Fieldfisher Austria with such a strong team, drawn from some of Austria’s most respected law firms and wider legal and business backgrounds.”

The Austria opening is the firm’s 26th office globally, now operating across 12 countries. It follows the launch of its Berlin-based mass litigation business unit Fieldfisher X last year, and the opening of its Dublin office through a merger with local firm McDowell Purcell in 2019.

“One of the central planks of our 2022-2025 strategy is to become Europe’s leading law firm by opening new offices in key European markets,” Shooter added.

Fieldfisher’s latest European expansion follows a number of other firms who are seeking to build out their offering in the EU. In March, Gowling WLG hired a quartet of partners from Taylor Wessing to open in Frankfurt just days after Morgan Lewis & Bockius hired a 20-strong team from Shearman & Sterling to open in Munich. In February, DAC Beachcroft opened in Italy with the arrival of an eight-strong insurance team from ADVANT Nctm in Rome and Milan. And in January, Davis Polk & Wardwell hired a partner duo from Allen & Overy to launch in Brussels.

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