(Kadri Oliver Alkan/iStock)
Coming on the heels of the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher announced Thursday that it will open an office in Frankfurt. The firm is hiring two partners from Latham & Watkins, including the latter’s local managing partner, Dirk Oberbracht.
The new office, which is expected to open by September, will be Gibson Dunn’s second base in Germany, alongside Munich, and its fifth in Europe, where the firm also has operations in Brussels, London and Paris.
Oberbracht joined Latham’s Frankfurt office in 2006 from Baker & McKenzie. His clients include Dubai International Capital LLC, Fresenius Medical Care, Nordic Capital, One Equity Partners LLC, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and German private equity firm Triton.
Wilhelm Reinhardt, another Latham corporate partner and co-chair of the firm’s industrials and manufacturing industry group, is also joining Gibson Dunn. He has been a partner at Latham since 2008, specializing in public M&A, private equity deals and joint ventures.
While the potential long-term implications of the U.K.’s so-called Brexit vote remain unclear, some observers have said it’s possible that Germany could supplant the U.K. as Europe’s financial and banking sector.
“We see great potential for our firm in Germany,” said Gibson Dunn chairman and managing partner Kenneth Doran. “With a strong office in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial and banking center, we are well-positioned to serve the needs of our German and international clients.”
The hires come after Gibson Dunn picked up M&A partner Ferdinand Fromholzer last week from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Munich, where the Magic Circle firm also lost antitrust partner Michael Esser to Latham’s Düsseldorf office in May.
Gibson Dunn has been bolstering its operations in Germany and Europe over the past few years. In April, the firm hired financial regulatory partner James Perry in London from British firm Ashurst, reuniting him with former colleagues Charlie Geffen, Jonny Earle and Nigel Stacey.
The German legal market has seen significant change in recent months. In December, Freshfields opted to close its Cologne office with all 18 partners transferring to other offices. Greenberg Traurig also launched operations in Germany nearly a year ago by bringing on a 50-lawyer team from British firm Olswang in Berlin.
Other changes in the German market in recent years were King & Wood Mallesons closing its Berlin base in 2014, and Shearman & Sterling closing two offices in the country three years ago, leaving the firm with just one outpost in Frankfurt. Hogan Lovells also closed its Berlin office in 2013 after the firm’s entire local team decamped for Morrison & Foerster.
Gibson Dunn and Latham declined to comment about Oberbracht and Reinhardt.