Signature opens in Frankfurt with double partner hire from Mayer Brown

Partners recruited to co-found disputes firm’s third European office outside London base
Photographs of Ulrich Helm and Jan Kraayvanger

Ulrich Helm (left) and Jan Kraayvanger

London disputes firm Signature Litigation has launched in Germany, hiring two senior partners from Mayer Brown to open an office in Frankfurt. 

The new office will be co-led by partners Ulrich Helm and Jan Kraayvanger and will be the firm’s third overseas branch since it was founded in London in 2012, following launches in Gibraltar and Paris, in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

The office will advise on a range of domestic and international disputes with a particular focus on oil and gas, renewable energy, construction and infrastructure, automotive, financial services and insurance. 

Signature Litigation’s CEO, Kevin Munslow, said: “Frankfurt is a burgeoning financial services hub in the continent, and its position in the German and wider European economies makes the city a natural fit for Signature Litigation’s financial and corporate disputes practice to launch its newest office.”

Helm has made the move across to Signature Litigation after a five-year stint at Mayer Brown, having previously spent nearly 30 years at Hogan Lovells, where he was head of infrastructure, energy, resources and projects. He specialises in international arbitration, particularly in relation to the energy and renewable energy industries.

Kraayvanger, meanwhile, spent nearly 23 years at Mayer Brown, and has advised on more than 100 disputes, including over 30 arbitrations, across sectors that include the financial, insurance and construction industries.

The duo’s arrival at Signature boosts the firm’s partner count to 26, the boutique having also made significant lateral hires in Paris since the office’s launch, most recently that of prominent international arbitration partner Philip Dunham, who joined from Dechert in January.

At Signature, Helm will be reunited with former Hogan Lovells colleague Graham Huntley, a founding partner of the firm, who said: “Signature has an established foothold in Paris, itself a leading commercial disputes centre, and Gibraltar, where its English law platform dovetails with Signature’s broader work. 

“The new Frankfurt office… is a natural extension of our offering of expert and conflict-free litigation and arbitration support for international clients in the key financial market and arbitration hubs.”

Responding to a request to comment on the departure of Helm and Kraayvanger, a Mayer Brown spokesperson said: “We wish them well." 

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