Kirkland & Ellis secures Clifford Chance partner to lead Germany restructuring team

Cristina Weidner joins Chicago giant in Munich just a few months after becoming head of UK firm’s Germany restructuring & insolvency practice

Kirkland & Ellis has added a partner in Munich from UK rival Clifford Chance (CC) to lead its Germany restructuring team. 

Cristina Weidner has joined the Chicago-based firm, the largest in the world by revenue, just a few months after being named the head of CC’s restructuring and insolvency team in Germany. Her practice focuses on financial and cross-border restructurings, creditor composition proceedings, contingency planning, distressed M&A transactions and going concern insolvency scenarios. 

“Cristina is one of the most well-known lawyers in her market, recognized for her leadership skills and pragmatic, commercial approach. We are all excited about her joining our global restructuring team,” said Jon Ballis, chairman of Kirkland’s executive committee.

Weidner joined CC in 2008 and made partner in 2021. At the firm she represented clients in the private equity, real estate, industrial and banking sectors and worked on restructurings for clients including Weber Automotive, Scholz Group and Rodenstock Group. 

She took over as practice head at CC last October after previous team lead Dr Stefan Sax was promoted to managing partner for Germany. Sax had led the restructuring team for more than 10 years and CC confirmed that he will take on the role again following Weidner’s departure. Along with Sax, the team houses two counsel and five associates spread across CC's Frankfurt and Munich offices. 

At Kirkland, Weidner will lead a team that includes veteran partners Leo Plank, Sacha Lürken, Dr Bernd Meyer-Löwy, who have built the practice into a go-to address for restructuring in Germany, as well as recently-promoted partner Dr Marlene Ruf. The team also houses five associates and is based in Munich – Kirkland’s sole location in Germany. 

Recent work highlights include advising Apollo on the bidding process for certain operations of Greensill Capital UK, Bain Capital on the bidding process for a majority stake in Condor and Arvos Group in relation to its financial restructuring. 

The team has also seen departures recently, with Weidner arriving just a few weeks after recently made up partner Dr Josef Parzinger moved over to Allen & Overy’s Munich office. Partner Dr Wolfram Prusko left the firm for Willkie Farr & Gallagher in 2021.

Weidner’s departure from CC follows the firm losing a team of equity capital markets lawyers led by partner Philipp Klöckner to US rival Milbank in Frankfurt last summer. 

A CC spokesperson commented: “We thank Cristina Weidner for her contribution to our restructuring and insolvency practice and wish her all the best for the future.”

Earlier this month, top 25 US firm McDermott Will & Emery made a twin partner hire from Noerr and Latham & Watkins to boost its German private equity practice.

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