HSF hires four-strong corporate insurance team from DLA Piper in Germany

Düsseldorf arm gains two partners as firm celebrates arrival of ‘well-regarded’ lawyers
Dusseldorf cityscape with view on media harbor, Germany

Düsseldorf Kotomiti Okuma; Shutterstock

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has boosted its German corporate bench and insurance market reach with the hire of a partner and counsel from DLA Piper along with two associates.

Jan Eltzschig and Heike Schmitz are taking up residence as partners in HSF’s Düsseldorf office, which the firm opened in 2015, two years after it launched its German arm in Frankfurt. HSF’s German practice now comprises 60 lawyers, including 17 partners.

Eltzschig was a partner at DLA Piper’s Cologne office for six years, having joined from New York-based Clearly Gottlieb. Schmitz was a counsel at DLA Piper, having previously served as in-house counsel with Generali’s German subsidiary. She qualified at leading German independent Hengeler Mueller.

The pair have local market and cross-border M&A experience gained with insurance sector clients, as well as fund and asset managers. Eltzschig has advised on complex restructurings and acquisitions, including strategic and capital investments and portfolio transfers, while Schmitz has advised on investments, investment processes and general regulatory issues. Schmitz has a particular focus on ESG, having led on sustainability issues for DLA Piper and noted HSF’s expertise in this area.

HSF Germany managing partner Nico Abel said: "It is fantastic that well-regarded lawyers such as Jan and Heike are joining our German practice. With their experience in the insurance industry, they complement our practice in a sector where we are already strong internationally."

Stephen Wilkinson, HSF’s joint global head of corporate, added: "These strategic hires reflect the increasing client demand and opportunities in the market."

German market developments this month have seen the launch of a new Deloitte Legal-backed defendant class action firm in Munich, while US firm Rimon launched a Frankfurt office with two hires from BCLP. 

German independent, Beiten Burkhardt, meanwhile, agreed a European alliance with Italy’s NCTM and French firm Altana under the banner of a Swiss verein, Advant. 

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