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In a move designed to extend the firm’s multinational transactional capabilities, Dechert has said “Guten Tag” to Germany’s financial hub with Monday’s official opening of a Frankfurt office. The office will initially focus on corporate (including private equity and corporate recovery), tax and financial services/investment management matters. Dechert chairman Barton Winokur said the firm plans to have 12 lawyers in Frankfurt by the end of the year, including German, U.S., and other European lawyers. He added that the firm would like to expand its German law capabilities to include intellectual property, capital markets and international litigation (including antitrust) representation. Winokur said the Dechert management has always envisioned expansion into Frankfurt as part of its European strategic plan, but the firm “turned up the fire” this past winter because of the number of transactions it had with German involvement. “When you’re looking at multinational transactions, specifically in Europe, the focal points are England, France and Germany,” said German transactional lawyer Gerhard Kaiser. “You need to have an office in Germany to service your clients properly. We’ve had a situation where we’ve used other firms [on a referral basis]. But it’s a lot easier if you have your own people there.” Kaiser, who represents international and German corporations in mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance matters, will serve as managing partner of the Frankfurt office. Previously, Kaiser founded the Dusseldorf law firm Kaiser Rechtsanwalte. When it merged with the U.K. law firm Simmons & Simmons, Kaiser became its managing partner in Germany. Winokur said Kaiser had to take a leave of absence to care for an ill family member. But with that situation now resolved, Kaiser was looking to get back to work. Winokur said the firm has talked to lawyers in a number of cities hoping to add them to the group. Though most of those lawyers would join the Frankfurt office, Winokur said that the talks could yield the opening of a second German office. He declined to name the city in question, though. Dechert’s largest endeavor in Europe was its merger with the 140-attorney London firm Titmuss Sainer in July 2000. Though the firm had been in Great Britain since 1972, the merger gave Dechert one of the largest London offices of any U.S. firm. The firm also has European offices in Brussels, Luxembourg, and Paris as well as in eight U.S. cities. Morgan Lewis & Bockius is the only other Philadelphia firm with a Frankfurt office. Sources familiar with the firm say Dechert management has been working hard for the past several months on opening a Northern California office. The firm opened an office in Newport Beach, Calif., in January 2001 to service its financial services clients but does not have a large California presence.

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