Hamburg

Addleshaw Goddard has hired a 10-lawyer Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) team, including two partners, to launch an office in Hamburg.

The base will be its first in continental Europe and sixth outside the U.K. 

The team is led by BCLP executive committee member and legacy Bryan Cave Hamburg head Michael Leue. He co-founded the legacy Bryan Cave office along with M&A partner Eckart Budelmann, who joins him in the move to Addleshaws.

Counsel trio Martin Luderitz, Maximilian Karacz and Hubertus Schroder are also making the move, alongside five junior lawyers.

According to BCLP’s website, the exits leave its Hamburg office with five lawyers, including banking partner Sandra Pfister.

The office will be Addleshaws’ first in continental Europe and will focus on M&A and private equity, commercial, employment, international trade and litigation. 

Addleshaws managing partner John Joyce said in a statement that “Our business has a continued focus on identifying new growth opportunities and we believe greater internationalization in the markets most relevant to them is essential to better serve our clients.

“Germany is one of the world’s largest importers and exporters and the opening of an office there is a decisive first step in our plans for continental Europe, which in due course may involve other European jurisdictions given the strong preference by many businesses for a fully integrated service.”

When asked why the firm has only now opened a continental European office, an Addleshaws spokesperson said: “We’ve been reluctant to expand just for the sake of it, but in some markets a presence has real value and that is driving the decisions we take. The demands of our client group are also becoming more stringent these days in preferring firms with a branded presence in the jurisdictions that are most important to them.

“Opening an office in Germany is just one aspect of our focus, and our future plans may involve other European jurisdictions—we’ll look to establish a presence in those, too, if that’s what’s required by the market or clients.”

Earlier this year, The American Lawyer affiliate Legal Week revealed that Addleshaws held failed merger talks with U.S. firm Squire Patton Boggs last year.

BCLP downplayed the impact of the departures.

“Roland Fabian, country managing partner for Germany, will continue to lead our offices there and oversee our strategic plans in the country, where we have grown rapidly in the last five years,” the firm said in a statement. “We are sorry that two of our corporate partners based in Hamburg, Eckart Budelmann and Michael Leue, will be leaving us to start a new office elsewhere, and we wish them well.”