Willkie unveils Munich launch plans and new German leadership

Frankfurt office head Georg Linde becomes German managing partner, alongside co-managing partner Kamyar Abrar

Willkie makes Munich its second German location Shutterstock

Wall Street firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher has announced plans to launch in Munich and refresh its German leadership as it seeks to bolster its private equity and insurance transactions coverage in the country.

Willkie private equity partners Miriam Steets and Axel Wahl are relocating from Frankfurt to support the Munich opening, alongside labour and employment partner Anne Kleffmann, business reorganisation and restructuring partner Wolfram Prusko and investigations and enforcement partner Richard Roeder. A group of counsel and associates from Frankfurt will join them, bringing the initial Munich headcount to around 20 lawyers, with further expansion planned.

At the same time, Frankfurt office head Georg Linde has been named German managing partner, with Frankfurt-based corporate and financial services partner Kamyar Abrar named co-managing partner.

Willkie chairman Thomas Cerabino said: “Opening in Munich is another strategic opportunity that fits well with our growing global platform. We have been investing in Germany and have nearly tripled in size there in the last four years. We are excited about this latest development in our expanding footprint, as Munich ties directly to key sectors in our client base. Georg and Kamyar are exceptional lawyers who will continue to excel at leading Willkie’s operations in Germany.”

Linde has been a partner with Willkie since 2012, joining from Clifford Chance, while Abrar has been with the firm since 2020, joining from Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Linde added: “Willkie is known as one of the most dynamic platforms in Germany today, and we are thrilled to establish a presence in Munich, which is an important centre to so many of our clients around the world. It is a market we want to have a presence in.”

Willkie has around 80 lawyers in Germany in total spread across its Frankfurt and Munich offices. According to data supplied by Pirical (see table below), it has the 11th-largest presence among its Am Law 100 peers, just ahead of rival Wall Street firm Milbank.

The firm brought in Roeder in 2022 from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. That followed the arrivals of partners Simon Weiss, Joseph Marx and Anne Kleffmann earlier that year.

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

Among international law firms, Hogan Lovells has the largest office in Munich with 188 lawyers, according to Pirical, followed by Taylor Wessing (125) and Eversheds Sutherland (111). 

AmLaw 100 firms in Germany by number of lawyers*

  1. Hogan Lovells (530)
  2. DLA Piper (284)
  3. White & Case (279)
  4. Baker McKenzie (211)
  5. Latham & Watkins (185)
  6. McDermott Will & Emery (156)
  7. Norton Rose Fulbright (152)
  8. Jones Day (95)
  9. Greenberg Traurig (91)
  10. K&L Gates (90)
  11. Willkie Farr & Gallagher (80)
  12. Milbank (76)

Source: Pirical


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