Willkie launches capital markets practice in Frankfurt with double partner hire from McDermott

Arrival of Simon Weiss and Joseph Marx brings US firm's lawyer headcount in Germany to 54
View of Frankfurt

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New York firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher has hired two lawyers from McDermott Will & Emery to launch a capital markets practice in Frankfurt. 

Simon Weiss and Joseph Marx join Willkie’s sole German office as partners as the firm looks to deepen its ties in the German legal market, which has been flush with transactional activity in recent years. The additions bring Willkie’s lawyer headcount in Germany to 54 according to the firm’s website. Its German partner headcount now sits at 12. 

Weiss focuses on IPOs, capital increases, equity-linked transactions and investment grade and high-yield bond offerings. He spent three years as a partner at McDermott, having been promoted from counsel in 2019. Before that, he worked as an associate at Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling. 

Marx, meanwhile, brings more than two decades of experience advising capital markets transactions across the chemical, automotive, life science and real estate sectors, among others. He joined McDermott as a partner in 2012 from Dewey LeBoeuf shortly before the firm ceased operations. Before that, he worked as an associate at White & Case in New York. 

Willkie’s Frankfurt head Georg Linde said: “Simon and Joe are well-known and talented practitioners. They will serve as the core of our new German capital markets practice, which will be a valuable resource to the expanding needs of our clients in Germany and across the firm.”

The latest hires follow other recent moves by the New York firm in Germany, including the addition of ten partners and counsel through lateral hires and internal promotions over the last two years. 

Notable laterals include Latham & Watkins employment partner Anne Kleffmann, who joined the firm last month, and corporate M&A partner Markus Lauer, who moved over from Herbert Smith Freehills in early 2020. 

On the firm’s growth, Linde said: “In the space of only two years we have added a number of new practices to our German offering, including real estate, litigation, restructuring, employment and regulatory law, while continuing to expand our private equity and M&A capabilities.”

McDermott did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the departures. Weiss and Marx’s exits leave the firm with 35 lawyers based in Frankfurt, according to the firm’s website. 

In other German legal news, US rival Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan announced earlier this week it is set to open its fifth office in Germany in Berlin. The office will be led by Germany managing partner and IP litigation specialist Dr Marcus Grosch, with the firm saying it intends to build a team of up to 10 lawyers in the capital. 

Last month, Goodwin Procter launched a second German base in Munich to add to its existing presence in Frankfurt. The office is being led by PE partner Jan Schinkoth, who joined the firm in Munich remotely from Sidley Austin last May. 

UK firm Addleshaw Goddard also expanded its German footprint in April when it hired a crop of partners from Advant Beiten, Skadden and Gowling WLG to launch two offices in Munich and Frankfurt.  


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