Berlin, Germany ()
DLA Piper will close its small office in Berlin next month after a team departs for DWF.
The British firm is poised to launch in the German capital on April 3 with eight lawyers, including three partners, early next month, according to sibling publication Legal Week.
Nina Siedler, a finance expert and DLA Piper’s sole partner in Berlin, is headed to DWF along with DLA Piper real estate counsel Irene Schmid, who will join DWF as a partner. DWF’s new office will be headed by banking and finance partner Wolfgang Richter, who will relocate to Berlin from Cologne.
Richter joined DWF last summer from investment bank Abadi & Co., where he was a managing director. He previously worked at DLA Piper, having joined the global legal giant’s German finance group in 2006, eventually heading up the practice. Richter headed to Abadi in 2012.
DLA Piper, which nearly a year ago shuttered another small office in Canada’s Yukon Territory, will no staff layoffs or redundancies stemming from its Berlin exit. Siedler and Schmid will take one legal trainee, one professional support lawyer, a law student and a secretary with them in moving to DWF.
The remaining two lawyers and one trainee in DLA Piper’s Berlin office will transfer to the firm’s offices in Hamburg or Munich. DLA Piper has two other offices in the country in Cologne and Frankfurt.
“The firm’s German practice continues to strengthen and grow. However, it has become clear that there is no longer the client demand, and therefore the need, for us to have an office in Berlin,” said a statement by DLA Piper. “As a result … we have come to an agreement that our office with one partner and one of counsel will transfer to DWF. We wish them every success in the future.”
DLA Piper’s country managing partners came to the decision, which was supported by the firm’s executive board. The American Lawyer reported last week on DLA Piper’s gross revenue slipping 2.9 percent in 2016, to $2.47 billion, as the firm grappled with the U.K.’s Brexit fallout.
As for DWF, the firm’s Berlin base supplements its other two offices in the country in Cologne and Munich.
“Opening in Berlin presents a strategic opportunity in its own right, offering significant opportunities in the financial services and real estate markets, along with being a key piece of our wider international growth plans,” said DWF managing partner and CEO Andrew Leaitherland in a statement announcing the firm’s office opening next month.