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Chicago-based Mayer, Brown & Platt will acquire the 42-lawyer Frankfurt, Germany office of Gaedertz Rechtsanw�lte, both firms announced Tuesday. The move continues the breakup of 200-attorney Gaedertz after its partners’ inability to agree on a merger with London law firm Norton Rose in January. Mayer Brown will gain 42 lawyers in the deal, said Johann-Christoph Gaedertz, a name partner in Gaedertz’s Frankfurt office. Those lawyers are about evenly split among transactional work, corporate and commercial work, and intellectual property and antitrust, he said. But the addition will provide only modest help for the Chicago firm, said Aled Griffiths, who edits JUVE Rechtsmarkt, a magazine about German law firms. “It’s got a good reputation, but by American standards it’s not that profitable,” he said. At the same time, Mayer Brown’s history in Germany has been spotty, Griffiths noted. “They haven’t been able to make the breakthrough that other firms have,” he said. Mayer Brown expects the merger to strengthen its telecommunications, intellectual property and mergers and acquisitions practices, said the firm’s co-chairman, Ty Fahner. The firm has a two-person office in Berlin and about 10 lawyers in Cologne, Christoph Gaedertz said. He added that Mayer Brown is willing to hire lateral partners in Germany but does not plan to grow by merging with another firm there. Some German lawyers see more potential in an American merger partner, while others think London firms make a better match. For Gaedertz, there are elements of both. Norton Rose had hoped to merge with all of Gaedertz but, the 45-lawyer Hamburg office of the British firm decided to join Los Angeles-based Latham & Watkins, quashing the deal. Instead, Norton Rose will pick up Gaedertz’s 46-lawyer Cologne office and about half of the lawyers in Gaedertz’s Berlin, Leipzig and Munich offices. The rest of those lawyers will remain independent, said Christoph Gaedertz. Fahner said that the Gaedertz firm’s recent implosion was irrelevant to Mayer Brown’s deal. “The thing that was intriguing for us was that the Frankfurt office wanted to stay together,” Fahner said. “It’s not my concern what happens to any of the other offices.” Copyright (c)2001 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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