Reed Smith names M&A lawyer as new Frankfurt managing partner in latest German shake-up

Appointment follows departure of previous Frankfurt MP for US rival McDermott Will & Emery and naming of new managing partner in Munich back in April

Octávio de Sousa (l) and Daja Apetz-Dreier Images courtesy of Reed Smith

Reed Smith has made its latest change to its German management team after it appointed corporate lawyer Octávio de Sousa as its new Frankfurt office managing partner, replacing Rolf Hünermann who has departed for McDermott Will & Emery.

De Sousa joined the firm in 2015 from Willkie Farr & Gallagher as one of the founding partners of Reed Smith’s Frankfurt office alongside Hünermann. The Frankfurt leadership change follows the appointment of commercial disputes lawyer Daja Apetz-Dreier as the firm’s Munich office managing partner back in April, taking over from fellow disputes lawyer Oliver Rathje.

Tamara Box, Reed Smith’s Europe and Middle East managing partner, said: “[De Sousa and Apetz-Dreier] are both exceptional lawyers with all the qualities needed to lead the firm’s growth and development in the region.”

De Sousa spent almost nine years at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, having joined from White & Case. He specialises in domestic and cross-border M&A, private equity, venture capital and other finance transactions. Apetz-Dreier, meantime, has been with Reed Smith since 2010 when she joined from Heussen Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft. Her practice focuses on litigation and international arbitration on issues related to product liability and warranty claims, often centred around cross-border conflicts. She also advises on post-M&A and intellectual property disputes.

Apetz-Dreier said: “Working closely with Octávio and the Frankfurt office, we will continue to play to our strengths in advising our clients on some truly market-leading matters as well as newly emerging innovative areas such as ESG, digital assets and the metaverse.”

International firms have been busy bumping up their German coverage in recent months. In September, Norton Rose Fulbright hired nine lawyers from firms including Eversheds Sutherland, Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Pinsent Masons to open a Düsseldorf office, its fourth location in Germany. 

In August, US firm Milbank hired a trio of equity capital markets lawyers from Clifford Chance in Frankfurt to expand its German capital markets practice. Also in August, Eversheds hired PwC’s German managing partner Steffen Schniep ahead of the January launch of its Frankfurt office, the firm’s fifth in Germany. Latham & Watkins also hired real estate transactions partner Carsten Loll from Linklaters to work across its Frankfurt and Munich offices.

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