German independent Gleiss Lutz to open London office

Stuttgart-headquartered national firm's London team will focus on antitrust, restructuring and M&A

Wolfgang Bosch

German independent law firm Gleiss Lutz is to open a London office in a bid to better position itself to take on antitrust litigation work and EU law-related instructions.

The office will be led by former senior partner Wolfgang Bosch, who will be relocating from Frankfurt to London to spearhead the launch in January, where he will be joined by a ‘core team’ of six transactions, restructuring and antitrust partners with other partners expected to work in the City as required.

The team will be supported by associates and trainee lawyers on a six-month rotation basis. 

Located at 125 Old Broad Street, the Stuttgart-founded firm’s new London office building also houses its European network partners Gide Loyrette Nouel, Cueatrecasas and Chiomenti. The four firms have been part of a non-exclusive partnership since 2013. 

Bosch, who has been a partner at Gleiss Lutz since 1994, focuses his practice on antitrust, M&A transactions, joint ventures and contract law. He frequently represents clients in major antitrust infringement proceedings and has well over two decades of experience advising clients on both German and EU antitrust and merger control law. 

By opening a London base, the firm said it was taking the “next logical step” in its expansion strategy given London’s status as “an important forum for international litigation” despite Brexit. 

The firm previously had ties to the UK legal market through a close alliance with Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) which began in 2002 alongside Dutch-Belgian firm Stibbe. HSF pulled the plug on the partnership in 2011 when Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe opted not to enter into merger talks. 

“Having our own office in London is an advantage that will enable us to penetrate the market more consistently and systematically and position ourselves better for mandates that are handled out of London,” Michael Arnold, co-managing partner at Gleiss Lutz, explained. 

Gleiss Lutz’s London team is set to focus on international finance, M&A and private equity transactions, distressed M&A and restructuring situations and antitrust issues. The firm added that it expects its London team to service the increasing demand for advice on EU law from UK companies.

Alexander Schwarz, co-managing partner, described the London office as “a key factor in the continued development of our corporate strategy, with its focus on complex advisory instructions, proceedings and transactions, frequently cross-border with a strong international component" while also adding a valuable on-the-ground presence for its antitrust and restructuring teams competing for international instructions. 

After the move, Gleiss Lutz will become the third major German independent to set up shop in the City, following Noerr in 2010 and Hengeler Mueller in 2007. 

Founded in 1949, firm currently boasts six offices in Germany and one office in Brussels, which opened in 1962.

Last week, top 10 Spanish firm Pérez-Llorca announced it was moving its London office from the City to Mayfair to be closer to the international funds based nearby that make up a large part of its client base.

Other European independent firms to open in London recently include heavyweight Brussels EU antitrust and trade specialist Van Bael & Bellis (VBB), which launched in the UK in September last year.

Last month, Abu Dhabi-headquartered construction boutique Mantle Law hired Dentons partner Gurbinder Grewal to set up a London office.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]