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SJ Berwin’s German arm, SJ Berwin Knopf Tulloch & Steininger, has boosted its Frankfurt office with the hire of Lovells partner Thomas Schrell.Schrell, a Frankfurt-based partner with the top ten UK firm, will head Knopf Tulloch’s banking and finance practice in Germany. The hire comes as Knopf Tulloch is poised to seal its long awaited merger with SJ Berwin, after the UK firm’s partnership unanimously voted through the deal last month.Schrell, who joined Lovells from White & Case in 2000, told Legal Week his motivation for leaving Lovells was a desire for greater autonomy.He said: “Some UK firms are very centrally managed as opposed to being driven by the individual. Although there is management at SJ Berwin Knopf Tulloch & Steininger, it is minimal and this was very attractive to me.”Frankfurt-based managing partner Rudiger Knopf told Legal Week: “This is indeed the first of several lateral hires that we hope to be making after our merger with SJ Berwin. “We are very excited about Thomas joining us as he will be adding a whole new dimension to the Frankfurt arm with his experience in acquisition finance.”Lovells’ German managing partner Michael Leistikow put Schrell’s departure down to a desire on his part to move from corporate work into the field of finance.He said larger firms like Lovells needed a more developed management structure.Schrell’s move is the latest of a flurry of lateral hires to hit the German market. Last week, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy announced the launch of an office in Munich after taking three partners from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s local arm, including co-head of private equity Peter Nussbaum.Earlier this month top US firm Shearman & Sterling suffered a rare loss with tax partner Hanno Berger’s departure for Dewey Ballantine’s Frankfurt office.

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