Weil, Gotshal & Manges is preparing to close its outpost in Budapest, as a 20-strong team from that office, including two partners, heads to British firm Bird & Bird.
The office, which opened in 1991, will officially close on Feb. 1. David Dederick, Weil’s Budapest managing partner, and partner Konrad Siegler are leading the team joining Bird & Bird. Dederick will co-head Bird & Bird’s Budapest base along its current leader, Peter Knight.
Dederick has a focus on international and cross-border M&A deals for clients in the communications, energy and utilities, health care, life sciences and technology sectors. Siegler specializes in banking and finance matters and acts for Hungarian and international banks, while also focusing on M&A deals, privatizations and bankruptcy and restructuring.
Exiting Weil’s Budapest office with both partners are a team of three senior counsel, 10 associates and five trainees. The three senior counsel are Ferenc Matrai, Laszlo Nanyista and Pal Szabo. The team will continue to work closely with Weil to assist their global clients, according to Bird & Bird.
Bird & Bird operates in Hungary as Knight Bird & Bird Iroda, a name it adopted in 2015 following the departure of a former office leader. The outfit is a fully integrated part of the U.K. firm’s international network. Excluding the incoming team from Weil, Bird & Bird has 10 lawyers based in Budapest, according to the firm’s website.
“These appointments will allow the combined team to provide deeper and more extensive services across multiple sectors,” said Knight, who also serves as head of international dispute resolution at Bird & Bird. “Strengthening our office in Budapest will benefit our regional strategy within central and eastern Europe.”
The Budapest closure comes almost a year after Weil shuttered its office in Dubai, the latest move by a global firm to rethink its operations in the Middle East. The Dubai office was Weil’s sole outpost in the region, having opened in early 2009. (Norton Rose Fulbright recently confirmed the closures of its offices in Abu Dhabi and Almaty, Kazakhstan.)
Last year, Bird & Bird opened an office in San Francisco and secured a cooperation agreement with Chinese firm AllBright Law Offices. As for Weil, which was an early pioneer in expanding into Central and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s following the fall of the Berlin Wall, it will continue to have European offices in Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Prague and Warsaw.
“This decision was amicably discussed with our Budapest office leaders, and we will continue to support the office during a transition period and would look to refer appropriate work to them,” Weil said in a statement. “Over the years, our Budapest office has been involved in milestone transactions in Hungary. We are very proud of all that our colleagues have achieved, and we know they will continue to accomplish great things. We thank them for their many contributions to Weil and wish them all the best.”