Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has boosted its recently launched Duesseldorf office with the hire of corporate partner Christoph Nawroth from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Nawroth was formerly co-head of the magic circle firm’s sub-sector global power and utilities group, and infrastructure funds group. He joins HSF as a corporate partner.

His practice covers private and public M&A as well as general corporate advice and joint ventures, and his sector focuses are private equity and energy and infrastructure.

HSF global head of corporate Scott Cochrane said: “Christoph will help us further enhance our offering to our clients in Germany, a crucial market for us given the size and strength of its economy and more widely EMEA, a key region for our firm.”

HSF opened an office in Duesseldorf in March with the hire of former Clifford Chance (CC) arbitration and disputes partner Thomas Weimann.

In Germany, HSF also has offices in Berlin and Frankfurt.

At the end of last year, Freshfields announced plans to close its Cologne office with all 18 of the partners there relocating to other offices.

The closure will see 16 partners moving from Cologne to Duesseldorf, while the final two partners – private equity specialists Ludwig Leyendecker and Kai Hasselbach – will move to Munich alongside six associates.

Nawroth’s exit comes after the departure of Freshfields’ co-head of global energy and natural resources Anselm Raddatz, also formerly based in the firm’s Duesseldorf office, in October last year. Raddatz joined Clifford Chance as joint head of its corporate practice in Germany.

In addition, Latham & Watkins hired Freshfields competition partner Michael Esser in May as a partner in its Duesseldorf office. Esser previously worked at Freshfields’ Cologne office.

In December, Legal Week revealed that Freshfields was cracking down on partner performance in Germany as part of a global drive to boost firm-wide profitability, with partners in the country set to see their profit share reduced.

However, elsewhere the firm has made a number of high profile hires including, in March, CC’s London competition partner Alastair Mordaunt, who relocated to Freshfields’ Hong Kong office to head up the competition practice there.


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