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By Alex Taylor 8 May 2019

Addleshaw Goddard has launched its first Continental European office, taking 10 lawyers from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

The team hire in Hamburg includes two current BCLP partners and will allow the office to initially provide advice on M&A and private equity, commercial, employment, international trade and litigation matters.

Addleshaws’ arrival in Germany has long been expected after it was understood to have been in merger talks with best friend firm Luther in 2017 which was ultimately called off.

The German team is comprised of corporate partners Eckart Budelmann and Michael Leue, while BCLP counsel Maximillian Karacz, Hubertus Schröder (both corporate) and Martin Lüderitz (employment) will all join their new firm as partners.

This leaves banking and finance lawyer Sandra Pfister as the sole BCLP partner in the Hamburg office, though her time is split between there and Frankfurt.

Addleshaws managing partner John Joyce said: “Our business has a continued focus on identifying new growth opportunities and we believe greater internationalisation 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 the Hamburg office opens next month, it will be the firm’s sixth international office launch since first planting its flag in Singapore. Sites in Dubai, Hong Kong, Oman and Qatar have followed in the years since alongside a merger in Scotland with HBJ Gateley that added offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow which was voted through in late 2016.

Leue said: “Today’s announcement has all the key ingredients for clients in Europe, the USA and further afield who will be attracted by the advantages of working with a competent and growing European business rooted in the German market with strong links into the City of London.”

Addleshaws’ strategy for entering Hamburg mirrors its AsiaPac strategy which saw the firm turn to a pre-merger Berwin Leighton Paisner, hiring Asia head Bob Charlton to lead its Asian growth plans.

The last firm to launch in Hamburg was Clyde & Co following an initial four-partner hire from legacy Ince & Co in February 2018. The quartet were then joined by a further 16 lawyers earlier this year following Ince’s reverse takeover by Gordon Dadds.

A BCLP spokesperson said: “Germany is a core part of our firm, where we have more than 45 lawyers who work across three offices, Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg.”

It added: “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. 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.”