White & Case builds in Germany with hire of capital markets partner duo from Latham

Oliver Seiler and David Rath join US firm in Frankfurt amid reports Latham restructuring partner duo are moving to Willkie Farr & Gallagher

White & Case has bolstered its capital markets team in Germany with the hire of partners Oliver Seiler and David Rath in Frankfurt from Latham & Watkins.  

Seiler is recognised as one of Germany’s top capital market lawyers and brings more than 25 years of experience to his new firm, having joined Latham in 2016 after 15 years as a partner at legacy Allen & Overy, before which he practised at German heavyweight Hengeler Mueller. Meantime Rath, who made partner at Latham at the start of 2021, brings more than 10 years of experience to White & Case.  

“White & Case is one of the few firms in Germany able to advise clients on finance deals governed by New York, English and German law,” said John Vetterli, head of the firm’s global capital markets practice. “It is a point of difference for our corporate finance team in Germany, and the addition of Oliver and David strengthens our position as the market’s ‘one-stop-shop’ for clients in all aspects of bank/bond and equity finance across banking and capital markets.”

Seiler and Rath have advised issuers, investment banks and corporates on some of the German market’s most significant IPOs, spin-offs and other equity capital markets deals in recent years, including hydrogen firm thyssenkrupp nucera’s €526m IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange last summer. They were also part of a cross-border Latham team that represented the underwriters in Birkenstock’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last October.  

At White & Case the duo join a Germany practice that has grown 8% in the past year to around 290 lawyers, according to data from Pirical, placing it in the top 20 in the country. The practice boasts top-notch insolvency and data protection practices and won Band 1 rankings from Chambers for its arbitration and capital markets offerings in its Europe-wide rankings.  

Their hire follows white-collar partner Sophia Habbe joining the firm in Frankfurt in April from Noerr as head of the Germany investigations team. The same month the firm hired competition partner Ingo Brinker in Dusseldorf from Gleiss Lutz Hootz Hirsch.  

News of Seiler and Rath’s exit comes amid reports that restructuring partner duo Joern Kowalewski and Ulrich Klockenbrink have also left Latham’s 200-lawyer Germany practice for Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

The duo are set to join the Munich office Willkie launched earlier this year with a 20-lawyer team relocated from its Frankfurt office.

Other US firms expanding their German footprints recently include Morgan Lewis & Bockius, which opened in Munich last spring after hiring a 20-strong team from legacy Shearman & Sterling. And earlier in the year McDermott Will & Emery boosted its German private equity practice with a twin partner hire from Noerr and Latham, also in Munich. 

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